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Let the battle begin, we rounded up students and they told us who should pay for college

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Let the battle begin, we rounded up students and they told us who should pay for college

WATCH |  Circa Campus gets reaction about free tuition and ask the big question, should taxpayers pay for it?

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How did we get here?  The development of free tuition as an idea and practice stretches back to the early 1900s when Arizona’s constitution began requiring that state colleges make school as nearly free as possible. According to Politifact, some colleges and universities in the United States were tuition free, such as institutions in the state of California, where free tuition was offered to in-state students until the 1970s, with an "incidental fee" starting in 1921.  

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President Barack Obama, left, flashes the symbol of the school mascot "Anteaters " after delivering his commencement address to the graduates of the University of California, Irvine, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, June 14, 2014. At right, is UC Irvine graduate Jacqueline Rodriguez. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Former President Obama, UC Irvine

Who's making a difference? To some politicians, free tuition creates opportunity to revive low and middle-income families in the U.S.  As former President Obama and a major proponent for free tuition stated, "We agree that real opportunity requires every American to get the education and training they need to land a good-paying job." New York City Governor Cuomo further stimulates the conversation with a reality that seems to become more apparent as the years pass, "Today, college is what high school was -- it should always be an option even if you can't afford it.”

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discusses a proposed new freight rail tunnel at a news conference on Friday, May 5, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Governor Cuomo, NYC (D)

The Future:  Time will tell the direction of this initiative, but programs such as Tennessee’s "Promise" provide an opportunity to analyze how such an initiative affects the population. Tennessee Governor Haslam stated that his goal is to raise the percentage of degree-holding residents from the current 39 percent to 55 percent by the year 2025. The Promise initiative, and others like it, such as New York’s "Excelsior Scholarship," and Oregon’s "Promise" program are spearheading the free tuition realm.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at the Tennessee Press Association convention Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Governor Haslam, Tennessee (R)

The Economy:  Fortunately, we will soon be able to collect and study data from these programs and determine if this highly controversial method of stimulating the low and middle class fulfills its duty. Thus far, Tennessee has seen graduates start to walk the stage from their free tuition initiatives. "I wanted to finish what I started and show my girls that it can be done," said Kristina Wilson, mother of three girls who graduated from college recently; in large part due to the assistance provided by the state program. 

Oregon’s Promise program expects to see a 7,000 student enrollment in college following its inaugural launch last year.   it will represent a 25 percent increase in recent graduates enrolling in community college according to OregonLive.com. States with free tuition programs will continue to paint a narrative over the next few years.  


So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty, and terrorism, and let us pick up our books and pens.
-Malala Yousafzai, education activist
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Malala Yousafzai attends the premiere of "He Named Me Malala" at The Ziegfeld Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Making a change:  Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize,  went on to say,  "They are our most powerful weapons.” 

Education is the tool that drives growth and development, fulfillment and advancement. The landscape of today's market is in a constant flux and there are segments of the population that need resources such as free tuition to level the playing field and create new opportunities. 

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Students and faculty applaud during an event with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York William C. Thompson, at LaGuardia Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, in New York. Gov. Cuomo announced a proposal for free tuition at state colleges to hundreds of thousands of low- and middle income residents. Under the governor's plan, which requires legislative approval, any college student accepted to a New York public university or two-year community college is eligible, provided their family earns less than $125,000. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Free college tuition is creating growth throughout the United States. The effects of such programs will begin to resonate throughout the country.

Let the battle begin, we rounded up students and they told us who should pay for college

(The article was provided by Circa Campus in partnership with GenFKD who has fellows on college campuses around the nation. Circa Campus contributor, Nicole Soto contributed to this article.)

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