States will have to halt disinvestment in higher education, ramp up that investment over time, and work with public colleges and universities to cut costs and increase innovation.
States will be rewarded for ensuring that no student should graduate with debt for tuition – and limiting costs for non-tuition expenses. Pell Grants are not included in the calculation of no-debt-tuition, so Pell recipients will be able to use their grants fully for living expenses.
States that commit to the compact will work with colleges and universities and distribute funds to meet these guarantees by lowering the cost of college on their campuses, ensuring that all funds received will be applied to instruction and learning, and improving the prospects for completion.
The size of federal investment for each state meeting the compact will depend on the number of in-state students enrolled in public colleges and universities, with higher grant amounts for low- and middle-income students.
States will be allowed a ramp-up period in which they can receive a portion of funds while adapting their levels of support and cost structure to meet this goal.
Families will be expected to make a realistic and simplified family contribution. Students will contribute based on wages from ten hours per week of work. But students and their families should be able to afford college without borrowing for tuition, and with lower costs for other expenses.