Obama proposes two free years of community college

Madi Dobbs, Photo Editor

“What I’d like to see is the first two years of community college free for everyone who is willing to work for it,” stated President Obama on January 5, 2015. However, “free” is not exactly true. The White House said the federal government would pick up seventy-five percent of the cost and the final quarter would come from states that opt into the program by raising taxes by no less than ten percent. This would have a cost of sixty billion dollars over the course of ten years. The idea originated from the popular Tennessee Promise program signed into law by the state’s Republican governor last year and from Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel’s free college plan in Chicago.

Obama believes that by providing educational opportunity for everyone, it will create a more skilled workforce in the U.S along with getting more students into school and less dropout rates for high school students. In the State of the Union Obama stated, “Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. Understand, you’ve got to earn it, you’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time.” Obama hopes that by starting up this plan, it will spread across America for everyone to be able have the same opportunities. He hopes to begin this program before he leaves office.

Not everyone will be able to have this opportunity. Students would only be able to go into this program if the students work for it by keeping a 2.5 or higher GPA. While in Chicago, students must keep a 3.0 or higher GPA. Rahm Emanuel stated, “By keeping the GPA higher, it will hopefully push the students of Chicago to work harder for this opportunity.” Many students believe this is a great opportunity, like sophomore Olivia Couch whom stated, “I believe this is a great opportunity for everyone because many people struggle with money and now everyone has an equal chance to go to college. I just hope this plan will actually go through.” Senior Kyle Kopchak stated, this will be a great thing that will benefit America’s students if congress will figure out a way to pay for it.”

While many people think this is a good idea, others believe it is a waste of money because people cannot afford higher taxes like times right now. Many within congress are fighting Obamas new idea for free college. “Why are we worried about free college right now when there are millions of families starving and homeless?” stated one commentator.