Free college is now a reality in nearly 20 states

Students who graduate from this tiny tuition-free college make more than Harvard grads

Students who graduate from this tiny tuition-free college make more than Harvard grads   8:30 AM ET Sat, 14 July 2018 | 03:38

“There was no way I could have gone to a university after high school,” said Emily Buckner, 20.

“My parents were laid off during the recession and it set us back a lot,” she said. “When I finished high school, there was nothing.”

Instead, Buckner took advantage of the Tennessee Promise — an offer of two years tuition-free at a community or technical college in the state.

In May, she completed her associate degree and is now enrolled as a junior at Tennessee Technological University, or Tennessee Tech, studying human resources.

Emily Buckner at her Volunteer State Community College graduation

Source: Emily Buckner
Emily Buckner at her Volunteer State Community College graduation

In addition to the state funding, Buckner has relied solely on academic scholarships to pay for school as well as a job at Waffle House, which covers additional expenses such as books and food. She has no student loan debt.

“I know a lot of people go to college and a lot of people don’t,” she said, “I just felt like it was for me.”

She credits the Tennessee Promise for opening the door.

Of the students who started in the program’s first year in 2015, more than 50 percent have been successful, according to Mike Krause, the executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and founding director of Tennessee Promise.

More than 20 percent have graduated, another 20 percent are still enrolled and 10 percent successfully transferred to a four-year institution.

Now in its fourth year, the number of applicants is still rising, according to Krause.

“There are students that may have counted themselves out and when they hear that you can go for free that provides a sense of momentum,” Krause said. (Students can use the scholarship at any of the state’s 13 community colleges or other eligible associate degree programs or vocational schools.)

Other states, including Arkansas, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon and Rhode Island, have also rolled out statewide free community-college programs and more are expected to follow.

[“source=cnbc”]

Lyft Expands Services Across 32 US States

Lyft Expands Services Across 32 US States

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40
  • Uber says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states
  • For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble

Lyft is driving into the countryside in an effort to raise ridership and steal market share from rival Uber.

The much smaller Lyft announced Thursday that it is offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 US states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40.

Uber, which controls about 70 percent of the US ride-hailing market, says it has near-statewide coverage in 13 states. A spokeswoman was skeptical that any company could provide timely service in all areas within a state’s boundaries.

For Lyft, the expansion is a bold move into unserved areas and a gamble that it can carve new markets out of even the most rural areas that have ride-hailing needs but no consistent service. Until now, using a smartphone to summon a ride mainly was reserved for larger metropolitan areas with a lot of people and more potential riders.

Jaime Raczka, regional director of new markets for Lyft, said the initiative will allow the company to outmatch its rivals in terms of coverage area and the number of people with access to its platform. Before Thursday, 79 percent of the US population could get Lyft service. With Thursday’s move, that number rises to 94 percent, she said.

To pull off the expansion, Lyft has been recruiting new drivers for months, many in smaller towns that weren’t previously served. The company wouldn’t say how many drivers it has added, only that it has about 700,000 nationwide.

Currently Lyft has statewide service in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware and Hawaii. As of Thursday it added Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Lyft has at least some coverage in all 50 states, and decided to offer full coverage in the 40 that have consistent statewide ride-hailing regulations, Raczka said. The company said it will even offer rides in the most rural expanses of Alaska and the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Just how long it takes to get a ride will vary by area. She wouldn’t give an average response time or fare estimate for rural areas, but conceded that initially it may take more than 10 minutes to get a ride in remote places. Those who have important trips such as traveling to an airport to catch a flight might want to use Lyft’s scheduled ride service if it’s available, she said.

In New York, where Lyft has had statewide service since June, the company’s app showed few cars in the Finger Lakes region late Wednesday night. In Corning, a small town near the Pennsylvania border, the closest Lyft ride was 74 miles and more than an hour away in Binghamton. The app gave no estimate of a pickup time like it does in urban areas.

Raczka says experience has shown that as people find out about the service, they summon more rides and more drivers usually follow. “We do improve service levels once we get into markets,” she said.

Uber says is has close to statewide coverage is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida. Spokeswoman MoMo Zhou questioned whether Lyft would have drivers available for rides in areas with low demand.

There’s clearly a market for ride services in rural areas, especially from people who are older, disabled or injured, said Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey. Until it becomes established, Lyft will have to pay drivers extra to fetch passengers in rural areas, generating some big losses, he said.

“That will allow them to gain market share, but it’s not going to be free,” Ramsey said.

He expects demand to grow and eventually pay off for Lyft. “There are a lot of people who need mobility, and especially in rural communities, don’t have access to it,” he said. “Demand comes from the supply, and vice versa.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Uber Can Be Banned by EU States, Notes Top EU Lawyer

Uber Can Be Banned by EU States, Notes Top EU Lawyer

HIGHLIGHTS
EU member states can ban Uber without informing the European Commission
Uber insists it is a service and not a transport provider
Critics and competitors say this allows it to dodge costly regulation
EU member states can ban ride-hailing pioneer Uber without informing the European Commission because at heart it is an ordinary transport company under their jurisdiction, a top EU lawyer said Tuesday.

San Francisco-based Uber insists it is a service, not a transport provider, connecting riders with freelance drivers directly and much more cheaply than traditional cab companies.

But critics and competitors say this allows it to dodge costly regulation and several countries, led by France, have banned its low-cost UberPOP service as a result.

Uber France challenged the ban, saying it amounted to regulation of an information company which Paris should have first lodged with the Commission, the European Union’s administrative arm.

However, Maciej Szpunar, an advocate general with the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, said Uber was in fact an ordinary transport company and so member states could go ahead and regulate its activities without notifying the Commission in advance.

He recalled that in a May 11 opinion on a related case concerning Uber Spain, he had concluded that UberPOP “does not constitute an information society service.”

Szpunar also argued that even if the ECJ, the EU’s highest court, should at some stage determine UberPOP was indeed an information service provider, a ban in response to “the illegal exercise of a transport activity does not constitute a technical regulation within the meaning of the directive.”
“Notification of the draft law to the Commission would not be necessary in that situation either,” he said.

He argued that member states only had a duty to notify the Commission if they took a specific, targeted action against information service providers.

“Rules which affect those services only in an implicit or incidental manner are excluded from the notification obligation,” he said.

The ECJ’s advocate generals – its top lawyers – are regularly called on to provide initial guidance to the court which in most instances follows their advice in its final rulings.

The French authorities banned Uber after violent protests by traditional taxi drivers.

Uber in turn filed complaint with the EU against France and other states, arguing that national policies hostile to its operations violate European law.

[“Source-gadgets”]

Why Oil and Coal States Are Slashing Their Education Budgets

A crane-like machine drills into a field for oil

A pumpjack in Wyoming David Zalubowski / AP

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed legislation on Monday approving $34.5 million in cuts to the state’s K-12 education budget. The new spending plan also denies tax increases that would raise additional money for education, though it does establish a special committee to determine future modes of funding. Ultimately, the legislation seeks to address a shortfall in Wyoming’s education budget that could reach $1.8 billion by 2022.

“We’re going to need to think about funding education as a Chevy rather than a Cadillac in the future,” Jillian Balow, the state superintendent of public instruction, told The Casper Star-Tribune back in December.

Beyond overspending, there’s a larger explanation for why these budget cuts are necessary. The majority of Wyoming’s funding for public education comes from taxes and other revenue sources that depend on the state’s declining oil and coal industries.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that coal production had reached its lowest point in 35 years, forcing many coal companies to declare bankruptcy. Oil prices in the U.S. have also fallen from $99 a barrel in 2014 to $30 a barrel in January 2016.

As these industries struggle, states that depend on them like Wyoming, Alaska, and Oklahoma are forced to cut spending for education. According to data from 2011-2012, around 30 percent of Wyoming’s education spending comes from federal mineral royalties, while another 30 percent comes from property taxes often backed by these minerals.

A 2016 report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government identifies eight states whose economies have been severely impacted by the decline of oil and coal revenue in the U.S.: Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. In each of these states, oil, natural gas, and mining account for around 10 percent of GDP.

Last year, statewide budget cuts in Oklahoma led to a $109 million loss in funding for public schools. As a result, many Oklahoma school districts were forced shorten their school weeks to reduce costs.

Last June, Alaska Governor Bill Walker also unleashed a series of cuts to schools and universities, which totaled $150 million. In the same year, North Dakota was forced to cut $172 million in spending for K-12 education, but this loss was supplemented by a special reserve fund for elementary and high schools.

Although education isn’t the only public sector to suffer from widespread budget cuts, it has certainly felt the burden within these struggling economies. Indeed, the future of educational programs in states like Wyoming may depend on the fate of oil and coal industries in the U.S.

[“Source-.theatlantic”]