Free College: Does Obama Think He’s Oprah?

“YOU get a college education! And YOU get a college education!”

President+Obama+at+a+December+news+conference.++Courtesy+MCT%2FTribune+News+Service.

TNS

President Obama at a December news conference. Courtesy MCT/Tribune News Service.

President Obama has proposed a plan for two years of  free community college for students who keep their grades high.

That’s a pretty big deal, as college costs have increased (on average) five hundred percent between 1985 and today.

Two years in college is enough to earn an associate’s  degree, which is pretty much the high school diploma of the 21st century. This will push the people to gain the skills to be employable in various fields beyond just minimum wage, or give a head start on a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree.

This proposal does directly not address the problem of runaway college cost. The government would have to provide roughly $3,800 dollars in tuition for each of the nine million students that are estimated to take advantage of the program.  This would be billions of dollars a year, above and beyond the financial aid already given in Pell grants and other programs.

The President has not yet said where he plans to find the money to pay for such a program, or how he will get such a large expense past a frankly hostile set of legislators.

The administration compares the long term goal of free community college with compulsory laws, which have made school attendance mandatory. The progressive era, which made high school more accessible for all students, is not enough in a modern global economy.  In many European nations, college costs are subsidized by their governments already, and are in fact free for some students

Free community college will not only provide relief of financial stress, but also make the U.S. workforce more competitive.