Obama offers students alternate route to pay for college


By Taylor Campbell, my job title

As students across the country prepare for crucial standardized tests which may determine their futures, president Barack Obama has been working on a plan that just might ease the fiscal load of community college attendees. Obama announced his plan, deemed “America’s College Promise,” while speaking at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN, on Jan. 9.

He proposed that as long as students are willing to work for their education, they would earn subsidies for free tuition for two years at a community college. Students, including those who are non-traditional, will be offered free tuition as long as they maintain a 2.5 minimal GPA and are attending classes part-time.

The plan will also cover certificate programs and courses that may lead to an associate degree or transferred towards a bachelor’s degree.

In its earliest stages, this plan has already earned much criticism, but it may also offer a great opportunity to middle and lower class Americans who may not have been able to afford college education otherwise. While the proposal seems feasible for its benefits to nearly nine million students, as reported by US News, it must pass a few obstacles before it can take effect.

Reiterated in his State of the Union Address, Obama’s goal is to be backed in this plan by both Congress and all 50 states individually. The plan will need $60 billion over the course of ten years to become a reality. A more concrete monetary strategy will be announced in Obama’s 2016 budget proposal.

Though it may be difficult to gain support from all 50 states and Congress, states have already shown development on their own. In Tennessee, the “Tennessee Promise” program is present, as well as in Chicago, IL, with the “Chicago Star Scholarship” program.