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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Can President Obama’s Plan For Free Community College Really Work?

Obama Proposing Free Community College

Nationwide — If you haven’t heard by now, President Obama has proposed two years of free community college for American workers. The White House says that this is an effort to make community college as universal and standard just as high school currently is.

Obama commented, “Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for anybody who’s willing to work for it. “It’s something we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anyone in the world.”

The challenges

As good as it sounds, the concept is easier said then done.

First of all, the program would require approval from Congress – which is Republican-dominated.

Secondly, the program needs funding. It’s expected that up to 9 million students will participate. If they all saved up to $3,800 a year for two years, that would cost the U.S. government almost $70 billion.

Another issue is whether or not the nation’s 1,100 community colleges have the building capacity to house so many students at once. If 9 million students were enrolled at every community college in the United States, that would be an average of about 8,181 students at each college.

Even more, the plan would require the cooperation of states, community colleges and the students themselves. The states and colleges have to agree to the funding, and the students have to agree to be good hard-working students – and not waste the free education they would receive.

Adults can take advantage too

If approved, the program’s two years of free community college will be available, not only to just students graduating high school, but also adults that wish to return to school. Essentially, it will support anyone who is seeking the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or even just job training.

“It’s not just for kids, we also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits,” Obama said.

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