Butler University, along with Come to Believe Network, is launching a 2-year program aimed at giving free college education to financially distressed students.
College debt is one of the biggest issues haunting Americans in the modern world. As per Statista, American students owe a whopping 1.76 trillion dollars in college loans. It can soon spell the next big financial disaster for the country, pushing them into economic ruin. Moreover, the emotional and social considerations of this problem are also huge. ABC News in their report, explained how many first-generation students are drowning in debt. They are unable to further themselves because of the debt they incur. The recent call by Butler University to create a debt-free college for students is aimed at tackling this issue, reports CNN. The policy has been formulated mainly to help first-generation and POC college students, who are most vulnerable in this situation.
We’re proud to announce the creation of a new two-year college designed to increase affordability and access for historically underserved students. #ButlerTwoYear— Butler University (@butleru) November 3, 2023
This decision makes Butler University the third US college to offer students a two-year, debt-free associate degree program. The details were announced by University President James Danko. In the case of Butler University, the students must prove that they are in financial distress to be a part of the program. The plan will also offer students gaining this associate degree access to Bachelor courses for $10,000. This is considerably lower than the usual fee of the university, which stands at $44,990 as per their website.
Danko, in his interview, shared why it was so important for the university to formulate this plan to help students. “We were founded in 1855 by an abolitionist who firmly believed that education had to be available for people beyond just what was predominant at the time, obviously, white males,” Danko said, “We were not living out our founder’s dream... That set in motion a lot of conversation and discussion about how you would deliver a degree. What would the type of student look like?”
The main beneficiaries of this policy will be students of color, first-generation college students and students from low-income households. The plan will be put into place for the Fall 2025 semester. The funding for it will be collected by the institution through donations and endowments. The institution has collaborated with Come to Believe Network to convert this dream into reality. The organization gives advisory services to educational institutes in their pursuit of creating affordable education for students. They were behind the creation of colleges in Loyola University at Chicago and the University of St. Thomas at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to provide students with more opportunities for affordable education.
The alums of Loyola University and the University of St. Thomas expressed support for the plans at Butler University and shared how they benefitted from affordable education. Carlos Martinez graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor’s degree. He shared about the program, “Yes, they did offer a great financial support. I did not have to take out loans at all for my undergrad. But what made it was the environment, the people there, the community, how caring everyone is.”
Elazia Davison went through a similar debt-free program at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. He shares that such programs are the need of the hour. In his opinion, such programs help to launch students towards a better future after education. It protects them from the anguish that such loans bring to the lives of individuals. He explains, “When you think about how you’re going to pay for college and how expensive it is... a lot of stress and a lot of trauma responses from not having necessities your entire life can come up. When you think about all the hard work that goes into you having access to these classes, it just really shows you that education is important.”