Cantu: Obama’s CC plan Is ‘a move in the right direction’

Story By: Cresencio Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief

At his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama sent Congress a “bold” plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.

If the president’s plan gets passed, elimination of tuition would be granted for students who “take responsibility for their education, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate.”

“I want to spread that idea across America,” Obama said. “So that community college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today.”

The proposal by President Barack Obama would grant students the opportunity to gain access to higher education at no cost to them.

On Jan. 9, the White House unveiled “America’s College Promise Proposal” — a plan that aims to grant “tuition-free” community college for “responsible students”.

According to a White House press release, this would mean that if all states in the union participate, “an estimated nine million [students] could benefit,” saving the average full-time student about $3,800 alone in tuition costs per year.

According to the proposal fact sheet, “federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college.”

From there, any state wishing to participate, will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the cost of tuition at a community college for eligible students.

Paige Casey, a full-time Nursing student at Fresno City College is one example of how this plan could help many students who would eventually enroll at a community college.

“I put getting books before eating,” Casey said. “I struggled to get food just to pay for my books.”

Affording a college education is difficult for Casey even though she works on the side.

“I pay for everything, I pay rent, I pay for my food, I work and go to school,” Casey said.

Fresno City College President, Tony Cantu agrees with Obama.

“Providing free access to a community college education is a move in the right direction,” Cantu said. “We will be watching closely as the president’s proposal makes its way through Congress.”

As stated in the White House press release, “students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college and make steady progress toward completing their program will have their tuition eliminated.”

Doug Sholders, a student-veteran at FCC studying social work says that a plan like this could generate some negative comments and ideas but knows many students like him support the president’s proposal.

“You’re always going to have an issue with negativity with things like that,” Sholders said. “But for the most part, I think that 90 percent would be right on and righteous.”

This story was contributed in part by Angela Tuttle.