If you’re black or American Indian and looking for a free education, I’ve got news you can use.
Small university Wayfinding Academy is leveling an unjust playing field.
That’s right — the two-year community college has announced its “Free Tuition Initiative.”
Via the official website, WA lays it out:
Effective immediately, Wayfinding Academy is waiving tuition for Black and Native American students…for whom Wayfinding is a [good fit].
Now if that ain’t a deal, I don’t know what is.
This is our Free Tuition Initiative, and it will be offered every year moving forward. We’re doing it in partnership with caring organizations like (grant-awarding organization) the Autzen Foundation, and we’re doing it because we believe it’s the right thing to do.
And just so you know, if they could, they’d do it for everyone:
[I]f we could wave a wand, take away all our bills and make the Wayfinding learning experience free for all young people, we would do it. In our ideal world, we think that — like the love of a community — education and guidance are things all people deserve with no strings attached. With the incredible support of our Wayfinding community, we’ve managed to move toward that vision by making our college as affordable as possible for everyone.
At least for now, they’ll do it for some — and in the process, take a whack at white supremacy:
[W]e’re insisting on making that vision a reality immediately for Black and Native American people [in state] because they have been disproportionately impacted by [the state’s] white supremacist history and because college debt is a major factor in the racial wealth gap in this country.
If you’d like info on “the perspectives and movements that inspires this initiative,” WA suggests you check out William “Sandy” Darity’s TED Talk, “A Blueprint for Reparations in the U.S.”:
The school says it intends to expand its free program, but for the moment, they’re doing what’s “long past due.”
So how do you know if you’re a good fit? Well, you can read about the institution’s “Student Experience,” which consists of 6 components:
- Core Curriculum
- Wayfinding Guides
- Internships & Self-Directed Projects
- Living Portfolio
- Learn & Explore Trips
Concerning Guides, the college believes “that forming strong relationships with students is the best way to help them grow and increase their own sense of agency.”
Therefore, “Every Wayfinding student is paired with a Guide who meets with them for 45 minutes every week (at least) to truly get to know them and provide support in everything from securing internships to exploring life’s big questions.”
Labs include “Introduction to Woodworking,” “Portland: A Deep Dive on Gentrification,” and “Incarceration and the Police State: Envisioning a Just Future.”
And as for that Core Curriculum, the school describes things thusly:
The core curriculum consists of nine core courses designed to cultivate good humans.
Students take one or two core classes each term with their cohort, serving as the foundation of the program. Our courses are discussion-based, including the exploration of select texts and films curated by the faculty, experiential activities, and guest speakers.
Wayfinding’s idea of on-the-house education is nothing new; over the past few years, there’s been ample talk of select races receiving complimentary college.
From RedState’s Mike Miller in July:
Tulane University’s Black Student Union (BSU) has joined the growing list of those demanding the payment of reparations to the descendants of slaves… As the BSU sees it, reparations are justified because Tulane University was built on land that was originally used as a plantation. Hence…university administrators should track down the descendants of slaves who worked on the “Tulane plantation”…and pony up reparations, tuition, and more.
In February of 2017, the Associated Press reported the following:
Black students should be offered free tuition and housing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison because blacks were legally barred from education during slavery and university remains out of reach for black students today, the student government said Wednesday.
Back to Wayfinding, the Academy’s website notes that, in order to help folks find their way…
We take a little different approach to education at Wayfinding Academy. Actually, make that a VERY different approach.
I believe them.
And how’s the school gonna pay for all it’s offering?
Campus Reform asked ’em just that:
Wayfinding Academy Communications Manager Ty Adams told Campus Reform that the school has no concrete plans for funding the scholarship program, but will “figure it out.”
The Academy is located in Portland, Oregon.
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