On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced a new proposal to make two years of community college free.
In the video from Air Force One, Obama said the following, “What I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it.”
The program is called “America’s College Promise,” and it’s said that it could benefit up to 9 million students annually. However to receive the benefits students would have to meet certain criteria, such as attending school at least half-time and maintaining at least a 2.5 grade point average.
The administration said the average tuition savings for a full-time student at a public two-year college would be $3,800 a year. While there were no specifics of how much the program would cost or exactly how it would work, it was said that federal funding would cover 75 percent of tuition and states picking up the remaining 25 percent. A source told Bloomberg News that the program would cost $5 billion, and experts suggested that the costs could rise into the tens of billions of dollars.
According to the College Board the average tuition for in-state students at public four-year institutions range from $4,646 in Wyoming and $6,138 in Alaska to $14,419 in Vermont and $14,712 in New Hampshire.
Policy advisor Cecelia Munoz said that the program would make two years of college “the norm.” It would help alleviate the rising costs of higher education; the average tuition at a public four-year college has gone up more than 250% over the last three decades.
Obama is also planning to propose a new fund to pay for high-quality technical training programs.
A program already exists in Tennessee, where students can enroll at any of the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology, community colleges or four-year public universities offering an associate’s degree. There is also another similar program in Chicago.
This is just a proposal right now and Obama would need congressional approval for the federal investment.
Obama, alongside Vice President Joe Biden, will tout his proposal during a visit to Pellissippi Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., on Friday.
So what do you think, is this a great investment into America’s future or will this increase your taxes and add to the already staggering national debt?