By Sukhmani Kaur
In January, President Barack Obama proposed a new plan to help reduce college expenses for students. Through this proposal, President Obama plans to free all costs of community college for students with a grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.
According to the Washington Post, about 60 percent of students attending a four-year college receive a degree within a span of six years. However, at two-year schools, which are most community colleges, only about a third of students attain degrees.
“In the coming years, jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience,” Obama said in his proposal.
“We will not fill those jobs – or keep those jobs on our shores – without the training offered by community colleges,” Obama continued.
Along with contributing to the need of a growing competitive world economy, Obama envisions having the highest number of college graduates by 2020 and increasing the number of graduates in community colleges by 5 million students through this proposal.
Helping students in community colleges is beneficial because these colleges are part of the nation’s higher education system and their acceptance rates continue to increase. This allows for more students to attain the skills and credentials they need in order to succeed.
With the initiative taken on this proposal, community colleges could make many improvements in their education system and work more towards providing for the needs of students.
For instance, partnerships with businesses and the workforce investment system will allow community colleges to create career pathways for their students in which these students can have new credentials, promotions, and training relevant to their career choices.
In addition, these colleges can collaborate with other education institutions to increase the number of courses they provide and promote transferring credits with other colleges. Furthermore, they can help students with their career plans and help them stay in school to graduate.
Obama’s vision will allow community colleges to create better education tools such as interactive tutors, simulations, and multimedia software, which will help students learn more in less time.
However, along with all the benefits seen with the program, there are other aspects to take into consideration, such as the cost required to put this program into effect.
The program’s estimated cost is $60 billion and the amount of students who begin their education in community colleges does not exceed those who begin their studies in state colleges and universities by great numbers.
Overall, Obama’s plan is receiving widespread support. According to a survey taken by The Huffington Post, 60 percent of people support Obama’s vision while the other 30 percent do not. Another 10 percent were unsure. They see the plan as expensive and are unclear on how it will be funded.
This new proposal allows more students to pursue a higher education without the worry of all the money spent in the process. With college expenses being a problem that many students face, Obama’s plan may indeed be the ray of hope we have been waiting for.
“Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt,” said Obama in his 2015 State of Union address.