Giving Compass' Take:

· A large number of college students today are dropping out for school due to financial reasons. MarketWatch explains that although finding funding for the initiative is difficult, making college tuition-free would allow students to focus on their education and passions without the stress of finances. 

· Would tuition-free college provide incentive for more students to attend? What are some potential problems with having tuition-free colleges? 

· Read more about mixed results from "free college" programs

It wasn’t until the second semester of his freshman year in college that Tinashe Chaponda realized how good he had it.

The now-23-year-old watched as his friends at Western Michigan University were stressed out about affording tuition and finding jobs with a salaries high enough to pay back student loans after they graduated.

Chaponda built his class schedule around what he was interested in, not necessarily what would pay well. And, since he could afford not to work while in school, Chaponda had the time to start an organization that connects students interested in volunteering with local nonprofits.

How did he do it? He credits an innovative program, the Kalamazoo Promise, which covers tuition and fees for students who attend the city’s public high schools for all four years and graduate in Chaponda’s hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich., where Western Michigan University is located.

Chaponda, who immigrated to the U.S. from Zimbabwe with his family when he was 6, eventually received a degree in acting.

“I know it sounds cliché,” Chaponda said, but the Promise, as the program is known, “made it easier for me to figure out what I’m passionate about.”

Chaponda, who is working in video production while pursuing a career in theater, is an early beneficiary of an experiment playing out across the country: What happens when students are offered the opportunity to get a college degree for free?

Kalamazoo’s program, which was started in 2005 thanks to a major anonymous donor, was one of the first, notable examples of what has become a movement. The idea gained momentum with a 2015 proposal from President Barack Obama to make two years of community college free. Separate plans floated by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election season put the idea front and center. There has been no progress on the issue at a national level under President Donald Trump.

Read the full article about making college tuition-free by Jillian Berman at MarketWatch.