Obama announces plans for free two years college tuition


President Barack Obama announced his plan for a two year free community college tuition program.

This plan, which Obama outlined in his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, would, as he states in his speech, “lower the price of community college to zero”.

While he plans to make “community college as free and universal as high school”, there are some restrictions. Students would only be eligible for this program if they maintain an average GPA of 2.5 or higher and are currently making progress towards a degree.

Obama’s proposal requires that students only enroll into community colleges part-time. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, about 60 percent of students in two year colleges are enrolled part time.

The free college program also implied that students which apply for it can get a degree in two years’ time. According to the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, only 22 percent of students graduate within three years, and 28 percent within four.

Another possible problem with this program is that it only covers the cost of college tuition (which is generally only around $3000). However the true cost of community college or the average amount of money paid per student is far higher. About 4 times that of tuition (around $13,000 per year).

Many countries have already taken up this idea that college should tuition free. Amongst these countries are Germany, Finland and Norway. In those countries the government fully funds education.

While the plan has some advantages to it, the proposal’s $60 billion price over 10 years is likely to grow with only a questionable return on the investment.