Obama offers students an alternate route to pay for college

Taylor Campbell, Copy Editor

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’s plan, deemed America’s College Promise, was announced 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.

In its earliest stages, this plan has already earned much criticism but it offers great opportunities to middle and lower class Americans who may not have been able to afford schooling after high school. As stated prior, students, including those who are non-traditional and haven’t gone to school since high school, will be offered free tuition as long as they maintain a 2.5 minimal GPA and are attending classes part-time. As reported by Obama via whitehouse.gov, the plan will also cover certificate programs and courses that may lead to an associate degree or transferred towards a bachelor’s degree. While the proposal seems feasible for its benefits to nearly nine million students, as reported by USNews, 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. Although it is still in the making and nothing is definite, the college promise will need $60 billion over the course of 10 years to become a reality. A more concrete monetary strategy will be announced in Obama’s 2016 budget proposal.

Obama shows no sign idling in his last two years as president. He wants to encourage the importance of education in the work force and to assist the American progeny receive an education post-high school. 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. Though things are not set in stone quite yet, aspiring students should remain hopeful for the developments of the American College Promise.