President Obama proposes free community college plan
We’ve touted community college as a way to significantly reduce college costs, by transferring to a 4-year college after two years to earn your bachelor’s degree.
And a new proposal President Obama announced today makes community college an even more financially responsible option.
The plan, called “America’s College Promise,” would make two years of community college free for eligible students of all ages. To qualify, students must maintain at least a C+ average, attend school at least half-time, and be making “steady progress” toward their degree.
Free community college plan could save students thousands
Experts say the program could help 9 million students save $3,500 per year, which could help improve graduation rates, reduce student debt, and help the United States keep up with other nations.
To qualify for the free credit, community colleges would have to offer academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities or training programs with high graduation rates that lead to in-demand degrees and certificates.
According to a recent Politico article, Thomas J. Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, calls the idea “a game-changer.”
We have ground to make up against other countries, and this is a big first step in doing just that.
It will make the goal of achieving a college degree more attainable for more Americans — whether it be a two-year degree that leads to a good-paying job or the first step toward a more affordable four-year option.
Future of plan still up in the air
The program is not without its critics, however. The Institute for College Access and Success criticized it for not going far enough, since it wouldn’t include living expenses, textbooks and transportation, which all add up to more than the cost of most community colleges’ tuition.
And experts predict it won’t be easy to get the program approved by a Republican-controlled Congress.
While it’s unclear whether the program will come to fruition, the proposal represents a step in the right direction for the future of American higher education.
We’ve seen states like Tennessee and Oregon take initiative to make college for affordable for its students, and we’re excited to see that the federal government may now be forcing other states to do the same.
We hope that the program will help more students realize the benefits of community colleges and find more ways to make college affordable.