President Obama Advocates for Free Community College

Ashley Sysyn, Contributing Writer

Recently, President Barack Obama has revealed his intention to make the first two years of community college free to the public. According to Mr. Obama, “jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience,” meaning that these jobs will either be unfilled, or will be outsourced to non-American countries. Taking this step to ensure job growth in America, as well as providing education to those otherwise incapable of receiving one, is admirable and should be enforced as quickly as possible.

A “prototype” of this idea has already been enforced in Tennessee, and a high 90% of high school seniors are taking advantage of this affordable solution to the sickeningly high price of college tuition these days. Due to these higher tuitions, many colleges are predicting lower enrollment rates, people can take longer to graduate, and more people are being forced to drop out of college altogether. With the opportunity to pursue an education free of charge, students are more likely to receive their degrees, and therefore their desired job post-college.

Admittedly, this plan does have some flaws. Over ten years, this plan is predicted to cost around $60 billion, which is not a small amount of money. However, this isn’t even 5% of what was spent in the last ten years in the Middle East – $6 trillion, according to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. And isn’t funding education more worthwhile and moral than funding a war overseas? Obama would also require colleges to “adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes,” due to the low graduation rate (about 25% of students earned any kind of certificate or associated degree within six years) and abysmal advisory system (often one counselor for every 1500 students).

But while improvements must certainly be made to community colleges across the country, this does not discount the fact that students need an alternative to pricier colleges, especially when a degree of some kind is required in a vast majority of professions. By trying to provide affordable education to Americans, Obama is simply making sure that people don’t need to bankrupt themselves in order to get a half-decent job.