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Obama's community college plan

What it could mean for us

By Amy Hastings
On January 27, 2015

Last Tuesday, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union Address. In his speech, he outlined his plan to make community colleges free nationwide.

According to PBS news, “the federal government would cover 75 percent of the average cost of community college”, while the remaining 25 percent will be paid by the state.

The President also urged state governments to reform current policies set up by the White House that will streamline high school and college curriculum, and provide higher quality counseling to all students looking to gain higher education.

The president is following Tennessee’s example, called the Tennessee Promise, which is currently offering two years of tuition-free community college or technical school beginning with the class of 2015.

Students, who are part of Tennessee Promise, are also promised a mentor who will help them through the process of going from a community college to a university after two years.

The program is not without stipulations, though. According to www.tnpromise.gov, each student involved in Tennessee Promise “must complete eight hours of community service per term”, and maintains a 2.0 GPA.

It is unclear whether President Obama plans to adapt these terms to his nationwide plan, but Josh Wyner, director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute stands behind his proposal. “Making community college as universal as a high school diploma would boost economic growth and help close the country’s growing wealth gap,” Wyner said.

This plan is being implemented too late for current college students like us to reap the benefits, but Obama also commented on the state of student loans

 “I want to work with this Congress to make sure Americans already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.”

Hopefully the government stands by this statement in order to help more citizens to gain high quality educations by making it more affordable for students like us.

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