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James Albright

Professor Dr. Angela Bilia

English Composition 112
27 January 2015
Free Community College
In the 2015, Annual State of the Union Address, President Obama had introduced many
new and world changing ideas to the American people. These ideas included affordable
broadband internet, faster trains, modern ports, and many other proposals. The proposal that was
made that would mostly effect young adults and teenagers is making community college free for
two years; if the student would maintain the requirements. The conditions on receiving this
would be maintain at high enough Grade Point Average (GPA) and to earn the degree on time.
Although this plan is not an entirely new idea two states, Tennessee and Illinois, however have
already implemented this idea into their state. The idea of making Community college tuition
free for the first two years has created a large debate on whether it is in Americas best interest.
This debate has created many different views but there are many pros and cons for free
community college including funding, job market forecasts, state colleges effects, and last but
not least advancing our nations education.
One point made by President Obama was that America was falling behind in education
worldwide, and that this bill would promote America to work our way back to the top. According
to Pearsons global report that ranked the worlds countries education systems based on
graduation rates, GDP, and the amount of money spent per student, etc. The United States ranked
14th out of 40 other countries with South Korea having the highest rank (Kielstra). This study

has pointed out how far behind the U.S. education system has become over the past decades.
With the proposal for free tuition for all Community Colleges this could throw a curve ball into
the rankings. Other plans like this have already proven to have great advantages in the U.S.
education system. For instance, in 1944 president Franklin D Roosevelt installed The
Servicemens Readjustment Act, generally referred to as the GI Bill of Rights. This bill has
allowed for over 7.8 million WWII veterans to achieve a higher education. Management
consultant and philosopher to the modern business corporation, Peter Drucker said in regards to
the GI Bill That providing free higher education to so many Americans changed the world by
creating the modern knowledge economy(Humes).
Stuart M. Butler, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, has
made an opposing viewpoint on the Presidents proposal. In a recent article from Butler entitled
Obama's SOTU Free College Plan is Bad for Poor Americans (Butler) Butler discusses the
short comings and flaws of this plan. The first flaw that was pointed out is that the bill would not
be benefitting the right people. According to Brookings Institution, this bill would potentially
only be helping those students who are able to afford college already. The Higher Education Act
of 1965 which created the Pell Grant which was designed to help low-income students attend
postsecondary education. The Pell grant spends a yearly 33.6 billion dollars in grants, money you
dont pay back, for some 9.4 million students to attend the college of their choice (Alaslam). This
proposal is only planning on offering an estimated 60 billion dollars of the course of a decade.
Over the 600 million>

There are nearly 12 million students enrolled into community colleges across America,

Works Cited
Kielstra, Paul, Dr. "Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment." The Learning Curve.
Ed. Sara Mosavi. Pearson, Jan. 2014. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
Humes, Ed. "How the GI Bill Changed the Economy." Interview by Stephen Smith. How the GI
Bill Changed the Economy. Market Place, 6 Oct. 2009. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. Butler, Stuart
Butler, Stuart M. "Obama's SOTU Free College Plan Is Bad for Poor Americans." The
Brookings Institution. Brookings, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
Alaslam, Nabeel. "The Pell Grant Program: Recent Growth and Policy Options." Congressional
Budget Office. Congressional Budget Office, 05 Sept. 2013. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.