Free Community College?

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TANNERSVILLE -- News of the president's proposal to provide free community college has created a buzz on college campuses throughout the country.

Free community college sounds almost too good to be true, but that's exactly what President Obama is proposing.

Students and administrators at the Monroe campus of Northampton Community College say it's an opportunity they're excited about, and one that could make all the difference for students.

Students are finalizing their spring semester enrollment at Northampton Community College's Monroe campus. Classes start Monday.

President Obama is now proposing all students at community colleges should get two years free tuition.

"I think it's been a long time coming, quite honestly. I think it's a good move on the president's part. I think it would do a number of things for the community colleges but also for our nation," said Northampton Community College Monroe campus dean Matt Connell.

The plan is called "America's College Promise" and would give free tuition to community college students who maintain a 2.5 GPA. Under the plan, 80 percent of the money would be federal dollars. The other 20 percent would be covered by individual states.

Angela Diaz-Martinez of Marshalls Creek is just starting college at age 40, trying to set a good example for her kids.

"I'm a little nervous. I've never gone to college before. This is a big, big step for me," said Diaz-Martinez.

She says her classes are costing her about $3,000 per semester.

"This would be huge, and huge to many people out there who want to do exactly what I am doing," said Diaz-Martinez.

The details of this community college proposal are supposed to be in the president's 2016 budget proposal, and folks at Northampton Community College hope this is an issue both Democrats and Republicans might be able to come together on.

"This proposal is good for all of us. This proposal positions the United States to be a world-class educational opportunity," said Connell.

Angela Knight of Tobyhanna is working toward her nursing degree. She says a program like this would let her focus more on her education and less on the financials.

"I'm paying out-of-pocket for my tuition fees and my books, so I'm actually working two jobs to pay my way through school," said Knight.

This proposal is only in the very beginning stages. Many against it say that it would cost taxpayers too much money and federal grants already help students with the most need attend college.

19 comments

  • ZackForester

    There are 12-18 million tech jobs in this country right now that are held by H1B visa holders because the US Education System fails to produce degree holders to fill those positions year after year and the firms taking advantage of the H1B visa are incentivized to continue hiring foriegners because they get a tax break for doing so. Also, you people need to quit deluding yourselves into thinking you’re paying for anything. The total revenue from individual income tax is less than the interest on the federal debt.

  • AdMissionbyDesign

    I highly doubt that everyone will go to college Kevin, even if it is available. Some people just prefer trades. I don’t think we’d see any issues with people entering trade schools.

  • Kevin

    If everyone goes to college there will be no jobs. We need people to go to tech schools and learn how to do real world stuff like fix diesel engines, or HVAC, electrical, construction, and engineering. More kids need to learn trades, that’s what keeps the world running, not kids with art or English degrees

  • AdMissionbyDesign

    How about we just have kids and their families pay to go to elementary school and high school. Hey, how about we get rid of education all together? At least you won’t have to pay taxes!

  • Banananas

    Hey, why not? Just go ahead and extend the conformist, Prussian based (aka socialist) education system to numb the minds of the free thinkers in our society with the forced drivel we get taught in the public K through 12 system that is already a failure on the world stage. They will have no reason to advance the curriculum if they have a steady “no risk” paycheck. This is the definition of going backwards. Just add 2 more grades to High school and call it a day! Can’t believe I pay property taxes to support churning out drug addicts, thieves, and pedophiles.

    • Banananas

      To those that support this, I offer the word “false”. Please be my guest and lean on your false sense of security in the same way you would finance a car or a home that you “think” you own. Most of that mindset comes from the atmosphere of the public education system, which in my personal experience only builds an attitude of self entitlement (when things are free for long enough, you get used to it), and most of all- a bully system where you get graded, and not usually by intelligence, but by social standing. THERE is the lack of morality which my original post was about. If it is described as “Free”, it most certainly is not. Somebody, somewhere is absconding with something. Whether it is just be nominal like we first focus on, or quality of education as a whole. I can put a dirty old couch on the curb with a “free” sign on it and somebody is going to take it. The real question is, “Who took it?”. Probably not the person that worked hard enough to buy their own couch.

    • Banananas

      It really seems like a move to separate the Middle Class even further if you think about it. Pretty soon those of you that make $30k or less per year will be considered “Welfare class”, and with the government dependency they are building up with each new proposition… What happens if they cut it off? They let the government shut down without conscience. They bail out billionaires, but cut unemployment to the workers that the billionaires fired (even though they paid in more than their share). Let us throw in some amnesty for people that promise, but can’t prove that they’ve been here for five years (2 more legally and you would have been naturalized like the people at the Chinese food place or the hand job spa). It’s like talking to a wall, because people like “Easy” wayyy more than honesty. I don’t care if I’m wrong, for I am just one product of this society.

  • AdMissionbyDesign

    This is the classic negativity and negative responses that exists in our area. Do you want kids in college or do you want them on the streets? Not everyone comes from a rich family where their parents can pay for their education. Not everyone comes from a family where their parents even care. If you want America to be successful, if you want this area to grow you can’t deny those who don’t have the money an education. Everyone is more than happy to pay taxes to have every child go to elementary school and high school but ironically, not everyone is happy that we have to pay for the unfortunate children to have a warm meal when they get there. Why give kids a shot after high school? Why give them that nice little chunk of opportunity, a taste of furthering education? Because there’s something called greed. Taxes stink, I agree, because I only make about $14.00/hr. But honestly, I’m willing to have a little bit less in my paycheck to get future generations started on the right path. Seriously people, I don’t see anything wrong with providing kids an extra 2 Years of education. Many might not think that an associate’s degree is a big deal, but with rising college costs and student debt, that 2 years will make all the difference in deferring the cost of 2-3 more years of to get a Bachelors Degree.

  • Tom J.

    I love it when the word “free” is used. NOTHING is free. Who do you think is going to pay for this? Will it come from obama’s “stash”?? This dam fool is spending money that he hasn’t fleeced from the taxpayer yet. Free, yeah right. Yoo Hoo, we wants our free stuff…

  • Franko

    Here is the problem with this – just like how a HS diploma is basically meaningless in the working world because almost everyone has one, whereas 50 to 60 years ago that separated people in the working world for jobs and it narrowed down the selection for positions, that is what is eventually going to happen with this.
    I am not saying that the feds picking up the tab for an associates degree is a bad thing, but you are looking at a future where within 10 years to 20 years, everyone will be walking around with an associates degree, making them meaningless because everyone would have one in the working world, meaning that there will be more positions that would normally require no 4 year degree, to suddenly require one to help narrow down the candidates.
    That is how I see it.
    And yes, there is a positive side because now you can get your 2 year degree without all the loans and grants, meaning that you can go onto a 4 yr degree for what is used to cost a student for a 4 years degree, in a sense.

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