The Hamilton Project Blog

The Hamilton Project blog highlights the latest research, press coverage, and events from The Hamilton Project.


Comments by Sandy Baum and Judith Scott-Clayton on the White House Announcement on New Community College Initiatives

January 20, 2015 • Sandy Baum, Judith Scott-ClaytonEducation

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The Hamilton Project. 
Sandy Baum and Judith Scott-Clayton are previous authors of a Hamilton Project proposal on redesigning the Pell Grant program.

President Obama’s proposal to eliminate tuition for America’s community college students could be a case study in the messaging power of “free”: it has caught people’s attention in a way that prior efforts to lower the price of college have not. Googling “Obama free community college” returns a whopping 75 million results, compared to 92,500 for “Obama Pell Grant increase.”

This attention is much needed. Inequality in college attainment by family income is on the rise. States have been reducing their investment in higher education, shifting costs to students and placing pressure on public institutions, which are asked to do more—and for more students—with less. Meanwhile, those who need financial assistance are often stymied by the complexity of the student aid system. 

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Promoting Educational Advancement and Skill Development through Community Colleges

January 9, 2015 • The Hamilton Project • Education, Employment & Wages

Community colleges serve a crucial role in our nation’s system of higher education and post-secondary training. They provide—or have the potential to provide—crucial labor market skills to a wide and diverse set of students. For many, they also provide a pathway to a four-year degree. When the White House announced its America’s College Promise Proposal today—which seeks to make two years of community college free for qualified students—it renewed the ongoing national debate on how to most effectively address the challenges of making post-secondary education more affordable and accessible for a wider segment of the population and, correspondingly, how to prepare individuals and upgrade their skills for the demands of today’s labor market. 

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Harry Holzer Comments on the White House Announcement on New Community College Initiatives

January 9, 2015 • Harry J. HolzerEducation, Employment & Wages

Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Hamilton Project. 
Harry J. Holzer is a recent author of a Hamilton Project proposal on incentivizing colleges to better prepare students for the work force.  See The Hamilton Project’s recent volume for related proposals on building skills in the United States.

The President announced two new community college initiatives today: a joint federal-state effort to make community college free for students who meet certain requirements; and a new grants program for colleges to expand the teaching programs in technical fields.

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The Economic Challenges of Crime & Incarceration in the United States

December 22, 2014 • Melissa S. KearneyEducation, Effective Government, Poverty

High rates of crime and incarceration impose tremendous costs on society, with lasting negative effects on individuals, families, and communities. Crime rates in the United States have been falling steadily, but still constitute a serious economic and social challenge. At the same time, both crime scholars and policymakers alike question whether incarceration rates in the United States are too high. With more than 700 out of every 100,000 people incarcerated, we must ask whether the social costs exceed the social benefits, for non-violent criminals in particular. Earlier this year, The Hamilton Project released a set of economic facts about crime and incarceration in the United States that underscore the magnitude of the challenges and frame the issue through an economic lens.

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California Governor Jerry Brown: Water Is Not a Political Game

October 23, 2014 • The Hamilton Project • Energy & Environment

By Fred Dews, Managing Editor, New Digital Products, The Brookings Institution

Earlier this week, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving water management in the United States in the face of scarce water supplies. More than 70 percent of the western United States is experiencing drought conditions, with California enduring losses to its agricultural sector of $2.2 billion this year.

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