The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Obama proposes free community college

By Oscar Gonzalez/@originalgamer1

Early January, President Obama took to the White House Facebook page with a new proposal: free community college for Americans. During the Jan. 20 State of the Union address, he reiterated his proposal to make community college free for those willing to work for it.

The “America’s College Promise Proposal,” would make the first two years of community college free for students who maintain a 2.5 GPA and attend at least half-time. The inspirations for this proposal were the Chicago STAR Scholarship and “Tennessee Promise” Scholarship, which more than 35,000 students applied for in October 2014.

Part of “America’s College Promise Proposal” would require the state to provide one-quarter of the funding while the federal government pays for the remaining three-quarters needed to pay for the tuition. Critics of the proposal cite the cost of the plan will be its biggest hurdle to pass in the federal and state legislatures.

Responding to questions on Jan. 15, State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) voiced her support for the proposal.

“As a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee, I strongly believe that a quality college education should be affordable and accessible for all,” Zaffirini said in an email. “The president’s community college plan is a serious proposal for reaching that goal.”

Similarly, one member of the Alamo Colleges administration offered his support for the president’s proposal.

“Anything that encourages people to pursue their education and increase their chances for a successful career, we’re in favor of it,” said Leo Zuniga, associate vice chancellor of communications for the Alamo Colleges. “Studies have shown that a large percentage of jobs require post-secondary education. It would be good for a broader section of the population to attain its education.”

The next step for the president’s proposal is to pass the now Republican-controlled Congress.

Will the proposal make it to the Texas State Legislature? Students, voice your opinions on Twitter or in the comments below.

Not sure where to start? Read some perspectives:

“Critics pan Obama’s community college plan”

“The problem with Obama’s ‘free community college’ proposal”

About the Author

Oscar Gonzalez
Oscar Gonzalez
Oscar Gonzalez is a communications-Journalism major and a political science minor. He wrote previously at The Pulse at Palo Alto College. In 2008, he started his own news website and is pursuing a career as a journalist. Oscar has a passion for technology and politics.

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