“Free College” Short Circuits Complex Issue

I grew up on a small Minnesota farm where everyone was expected to work hard. It was a place and time where few people considered college an option. So when I did eventually apply, I unknowingly fell into a category noted for a high-failure rate: first-generation students.

My mom took a job to help with tuition. I worked summers and weekends to save extra money. And we applied for financial aid. Intimidated by big universities, I wanted to go to a small college. Thanks to generous scholarships, student loans, summer wages and careful scrimping, I figured I could make it work.

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