Shoreline Community College is offering tuition-free scholarships to students in the areas the college serves, a good idea that should be adopted elsewhere.

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CHERYL Roberts has been busy this week traveling around Shoreline and Lake Forest Park touting a very good idea she brought with her from Oregon when she took over as Shoreline Community College president.

Shoreline Scholars is such a good idea, in fact, that other community colleges in the state should adopt it.

Shoreline Community College is offering free tuition for two years for 56 high school students graduating this year with at least a 3.5 grade point average and some financial need. The program is open to all students in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, whether they attend public or private schools or are home-schooled.

The tuition can be used for technical programs or for academic classes that count toward a four-year degree. Students would still pay for books and fees, but the $4,500 annual tuition would be covered.

The college is funding 50 scholarships, the college foundation is paying for five more of them and an individual has donated another.

Chemeketa Community College in Salem, where Roberts worked before coming to Shoreline eight months ago, has a similar program. She credits that effort for increasing by tenfold the number of high-achieving students there.

“It creates an environment in which students know that it pays to succeed,” Roberts said.

While students in the lowest-income brackets often qualify for many financial-aid packages and students with near-perfect GPAs can earn merit scholarships, other students may find they have limited options. Those are the students this program will help.

Right now, Roberts is getting the word out by visiting community groups and the city councils of the two cities.

Shoreline Mayor Shari Winstead heard Roberts’ pitch Monday night and welcomed a “program (that) will give people who are willing to work hard a chance to achieve a college education … and without accumulating student loan debt” — another goal of Shoreline Scholars.

Applications for the program are now available, and students need to hurry because the deadline is April 29. Website: shoreline.edu/shoreline-scholars/

Making community college tuition free for as many students as possible is a good idea.