HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – “America’s College Promise” is the name of President Barack Obama’s proposal that would allow future students two years of community college, or trade school, free of charge. It aims to tackle the trillions of dollars in student loan debt.
Colin Kazunis of Holyoke Community College said that he thinks it’s a good idea. “You spend a lot on college and when you move on to a four year school it’s even more so. So, just having those first two years for free, it makes a huge impact,” Kazunis said.
To qualify, students would need to maintain a college GPA of 2.5 or higher, and come from a family earning less than $200,000 per year. The president estimates that nine million students would qualify, costing $60 billion, with 75% paid by the federal government and 25% by the state.
Springfield Political Consultant Tony Cignoli says that cost may seem too high for some states, such as Massachusetts, to pay at this time. “Right now in Massachusetts when you’re looking at a budget shortfall like we’ve got, and all the other things that are priorities on this governor’s mind, on the Legislature’s mind, how do you add this to that heavy burden of what you already have to pay for?” Cignoli said.
One key question that still needs to be answered is who would actually benefit from the program? The president hopes to make college as universal as high school.
Some college graduates, who already shelled out tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars for their degree, wish the program could help them.
“I think it would be nice to help people that have already started, but I think it’s important for them to get it through any way they can,” Cignoli said.
Congress still has to vote on the proposal. Click Here to read the proposal in full.