Does “Tuition-free” college mean a “free college”?

If you’re like me, an Illinoisan who watched the Presidential debates, you may have considered moving the family to Massachusetts to save on college tuition expenses. In case you missed it, Mr. Romney stated that graduates of Massachusetts high schools are guaranteed a tuition free education at any public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth. Sure there are costs associated with moving the family out East, but I have twin boys and I can buy a house (a really nice house for that matter) for the amount of money their education will likely cost me. The Romney plan, or at least the one he takes credit for during the debate, just may be the solution to those impending college costs.

Since the debate a couple of things have happened. First, a hurricane by the name of Sandy came ashore and that alone has made us reconsider a move. Midwest blizzards are cold but the water arrives fluffy and pretty. I have yet to see a fluffy, pretty hurricane. As if that wasn’t enough reason to reconsider a move, the Massachusetts Teachers Association published an open letter today. I recommend that you read the entire letter but just in case you don’t have the time, (Warning: SPOILER ALERT!) Mr. Romney’s statements were 100% true. Unfortunately, while they have worked in earnest to keep tuition low in Massachusetts, really low, what they lack in tuition they make up for in fees. Really, really, big fees. In short, 100% of the 5% of the cost of a college degree are covered under the plan. That leaves a lot uncovered.

So I guess we’re not moving. This makes next week’s vote right here in Illinois even that much more important for me, my family, and our community. Be sure to check out the list of IEA recommended candidates who are committed to a quality public education for all children in Illinois, and most importantly, make sure you vote.

Lastly, I’m not sure which makes me happier, the fact that I won’t have to pack or that I won’t have to start rooting for the Patriots and Red Sox.

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