President Obama’s free community college tuition proposal welcomed by students

Before 1984, the cost of attending community college in California was completely free.  With President Barack Obama’s recent proposal, two years of community college could become free once again in California, as well as the rest of the nation.

Obama unveiled the plan at Pellissippi State College in Knoxville, Tenn. on Jan. 9, and White House officials are estimating the overall cost will be roughly $60 billion over 10 years and would include around nine million students if enacted, according to The Washington Post.

The president brought more attention to the plan by posting it on Facebook, where according to the White House approximately 5.7 million people viewed the post. Currently, it is just a proposal and more steps would need to be taken for it to be passed, but the outlook from students and administrators at Cosumnes River College is optimistic and positive.

“President Obama’s proposal to eliminate fees at community colleges would expand opportunities and access to thousands of residents who might not otherwise have considered a college education,” said CRC Interim President Whitney Yamamura. “These values are a priority at Cosumnes River College, so we’ll wait and see how the proposal proceeds. Obviously, a more educated citizenry provides numerous benefits to the community as a whole.”

Many students agreed with Yamamura about the opportunities this proposed elimination of fees would bring.

“There are a lot of people that can’t afford it [school], and they’re in a situation where they can’t get financial aid so I think that would help a lot,” said 21-year-old film major Christopher Tran.

While Obama’s proposal would eliminate fees so that more students could attend college, there would be requirements for them to remain eligible for the fee elimination. Students would be required to keep a 2.5 or higher gpa while also being at least a part time student that is actively on a path to a degree or transfer.

Anthony Ibarra, 24, a CRC graduate said that he thought that the requirements for the fee elimination were fair.

“That’s a great idea,” Ibarra said. “Basically you have to maintain a grade point average and you have to be part time, so for somebody that wants to better themselves I think that is a good criteria.”

Jose Rocha, 18, a physical therapy major said he agreed with the requirements.

“I think they’re pretty fair,” Rocha said. “I mean a 2.5 is not that hard to get if you’re on top of your stuff, your homework and everything, and your homework is going to help you do good on your tests, so I mean if you’re doing everything right I think it is [fair].”

With all the financial demands that come from being a college student as well as just being an adult in society, Rocha said that he thinks that this plan would be a great help to students that are struggling to make ends meet.

“I mean I just paid almost $300 for one book,” Rocha said. “I work and I pretty much don’t have any money saved right now because transportation, I had to put gas [in my car], I had to pay for my books and I had bills to pay. So I think it will be a great idea.”