SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – President Obama announced the America’s College Promise, a proposal to make the first two years of community college free to responsible students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The proposal requires community colleges to strengthen their programs, increase the number of graduating students, and have students earn good grades.
The President made this proposal to mirror the idea that college should be as free and universal as high school.
“It would be fair for everyone because some people can’t afford it, so it would be good for them to go to college and get a career,” says Laura Wetland from Arizona.
The average community college student pays $3,800 in tuition each year, and these costs would be covered. According to the proposal, the federal government would cover 75% of the cost to make this happen. The other 25% would be covered by the state, but it’s not clear how that money would be collected.
President Ira Rubenzahl of Springfield Technical Community College supports the President’s proposal.
“We have capacity, “Rubenzahl told 22News. “We could add more faculty if we add the resources and have more students. So I’m not at least initially concerned about that. Now, we might be overwhelmed, but that would be a good problem in my judgement.”
Students say they don’t fear the potential of losing resources they currently pay for…instead, federal assistance will allow colleges to provide even more resources.
STCC student Juhi Dasrath told 22News, “It makes it so much better, so much easier for students to do it. But do I think it will limit students? No, because, if you want something you go all out.”
The goal is to have more people with degrees enter the workforce. If all states participate, an estimated 9 million students would benefit.
This proposal to make the first 2 years of community college free was inspired by new programs in Tennessee and Chicago, who have piloted this idea.