Workforce plan now includes Dvorak study of free, reduced tuition at Indiana colleges, universities

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House members have endorsed a proposal authored by State Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) that could pave the way for students to attend state colleges and universities for free or at a substantially reduced tuition rate.

Indiana House members have endorsed an amendment from Dvorak calling for a study of how to achieve free or severely reduced tuition at state schools. The proposal is part of Senate Bill 50, a comprehensive workforce development proposal that unanimously cleared the House today.

“My proposal simply asks the committee created under Senate Bill 50 to study all the recent proposals from other states that are designed to provide free or substantially reduced tuition to students attending state colleges and universities, and see how we could use those plans in Indiana,” said Dvorak, who has been an outspoken advocate for the idea in recent sessions, and filed bills calling for free college tuition.

Purdue University already has had a tuition freeze in place for several years, with most reports indicating that it has been a success.

“Skyrocketing tuition costs are preventing many students from attending college, and most of those that do manage to graduate carry crushing debt loads with them,” Dvorak said. “Purdue has demonstrated that a tuition freeze can work, but we need to do more. College tuition needs to be cheaper—and the closer to free we can get it, the better.”

Dvorak noted that many states are finding new ways to make college free or far more affordable. New York now has free in-state tuition for families earning under $125,000. Several states have started free tuition at community colleges, and dozens more states have either recently passed similar initiatives, or have pending legislation on the issue.

“The United States has benefited from a long tradition of making education available to all. From kindergarten to the GI Bill, our educational innovations have created a country capable of leading the world,” said Dvorak. “We can’t let spiraling costs threaten that achievement by causing us to lose ground.”

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