Lots of programs are available to make educational opportunities more accessible in Seattle and beyond. This week Ed Lab is reading about what could be affecting their effectiveness.

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Some students use free ORCA cards to get to school. I-976 could change that.

South Seattle students fought for changes that would allow them free access to public transportation. It’s a program that helps students get to school and to jobs while allowing families the chance to spend their limited income on other necessities. This South Seattle Emerald article explains how Initiative 976, the ballot measure that aims to limit many vehicle registrations to $30 and will reduce the amount of funding available for public transit, could lead to the end of the program. (A judge’s ruling has put implementation of I-976 on hold, for now).

Why fewer students are signing up for free or reduced-price lunches

In this segment from Cleveland High’s Eagle News Network YouTube videos, a student reporter explores why some students aren’t signing up for the free or reduced-price lunch programs. For some, there’s a stigma associated with the program. For others, it’s an unwillingness to talk about their immigration status in the current political climate. (This is just a short segment of a longer broadcast covering everything from why the principal is going on medical leave to a celebration of ultimate Frisbee champions.) 

And on the same subject, a local university is now offering free meals for students in need. KNKX reports that Seattle Pacific University is part of a new pilot project. 

What it could mean to make colleges free

Politicians have bounced around the idea of free college tuition in the United States for years. In Chile, which has an education system similar to the U.S., they are putting it into practice by offering free tuition to public institutions for people who earn less than a certain income level. The new program is drawing in more low-income students, but it has time limits some students find too tight to graduate. The program is also negatively affecting some private universities. Learn what could be in store for the United States from The Hechinger Report.