What does Obama’s free community college proposal really mean?

Madi Beauchamp, Writer

These days it seems almost impossible to get a job to support yourself without having some type of higher education degree. So the fact that President Obama is pushing for two free years community college across the nation is making quite the waves. This already exists in the state of Tennessee and the City of Chicago, but the president is pushing for it to spread nationwide.

Eliminating the cost of college would make it possible for many to further their education and hopefully in turn, get a better paying job to support themselves. Senior business and economics correspondent at Slate, Jordan Weissman, reports that many people currently attending community college can only attend part time because they have to hold down a job during some parts of the day to pay for their housing and other bills.

Some people question the necessity of making tuition free for everyone because people who really need financial aid can already get it with a Pell Grant. But, Obama’s hope is that by making tuition free, students can use their Pell Grants towards the cost of their housing or other necessary expenses so they can finish a degree and get a better paying job.

It makes sense that this idea is becoming more of a present issue in our society, as now more than ever, it is almost necessary to have education beyond high school to have a successful career.

Judy McIntosh, one of Kennedy’s counselor, said, “It’s not K-12 anymore, it’s K-14”. McIntosh further stated that she sees no negative outcomes to the idea.

It’s not K-12 anymore, it’s K-14.”

— Judy McIntosh

“Even if you’re looking at a person who is applying for a job that doesn’t require a certain degree, just that fact you have a degree in your name shows that you have things like determination and self-discipline to be able to accomplish that degree that would be desirable in any job,” McIntosh said.

Finally, McIntosh remarked, “It would seem to make sense that paying for someone’s college degree would most likely save the government money. This is because it costs less money to pay for a two year degree once for someone than to have to pay for welfare or other government assisted living for the entirety of someone’s life.”

Obama does include in his plan that students wishing to attain this free tuition must meet with certain expectations such as maintaining a GPA of 2.5 or higher. This being said, the plan for more accessible education seems to many to be positive for the nation.