Friday, January 9, 2015

Obama's Tuition-free Community College

Washington Post
Today, President Obama will propose making the first two years of community college free for eligible students.  Under his plan, students who maintain a 2.5 GPA and are at least half-time status, would be eligible for free tuition.

According to Cecilia Muñoz, one of the goals is "to make two years of college the norm - the way high school is the norm." 

States would also have some level of responsibility.  In President Obama's plan, community colleges would be expected to offer high-quality programs, with credits transferable to four-year colleges.  Participating states would share the cost and commit to various steps to improve the educational system.

And that's where the rub comes in...

This proposal could cost tens of billions of dollars over the next decade.  As we all know, spending of any type, regardless of how beneficial the effort, will face extreme resistance by the Republican-controlled Congress.

Beyond that, while white men still make up the majority of community college enrollment, this plan would benefit minorities and women. 

According to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), women account for 43% of all community college students.  In addition, among ALL undergraduates, 56% of Hispanic and 48% of Black students attend community college in 2012. (source)

Blacks are more likely than Whites to attend a two-year college and attend school part-time.  In addition, Black college graduates carry more debt after graduation than their White counterparts.

As with any of the President's proposals, this will be a controversial move resulting in more gridlock in congress.  However, it's clear that President Obama wants to us his lame duck second term to do some innovative things - now that he doesn't have to worry about re-election.

Is this a good move by the President?

Will this move appease those who say the President hasn't done enough for the Black community?

Is this something the government should pay for?
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