How the GOP Could Support Obama’s Free College Program

Kevin Price, USDR Publisher and Editor in Chief, Column from the Huffington  Post.

It is clear that Barack Obama is pushing a progressive or even “class conflict” agenda in these last two years of his administration. One can see this clearly between his call for a significant tax increase geared towards the top 1 percent of income earners and a push for “free” college education for the first two years for all that would qualify for a new program. Obama wants to position his party and administration as the great  equalizer.

It would seem that, in light of the platforms the GOP got elected on, that there is no appetite for increase taxes on the most affluent. In their eyes, this is the equivalent of killing the goose that “lays the golden eggs” or, at the very least, the forcing of these birds to more prosperous countries. However, things are not so clear about what the GOP led Congress would do about the college education  proposal.

Concerning the current state of affairs of higher education, we know that the cost for students is significant and many don’t even entertain two years, because they don’t know if they can keep up the momentum to complete the typically required four. According to The Guardian, “average tuition and fees at public two-year colleges for the 2014-to-2015 school year were $3,347, about $106 more than the year before, according to College Board. While many of these schools are commuter schools, students who opt for the full college experience including living on campus and in dorms were possibly having to pay about $7,705 more. About 1 million students — or 8.5 percent of students enrolled at community colleges — do not have access to federal loans. Community colleges currently have some of the highest default rates on record. Despite the fact that few community college students take on debt, more than one in five of those who take out federal loans default on  them.”

The president’s proposal, also known as “America’s College Promise”, would be a joint effort between the federal and state governments to provide government funded community college education. The federal government would cover 75 percent of the costs, while the states would be saddled with the  rest.

States that already spend more and charge students less will only make small contributions, according to the White House. To be eligible for the program a student would have to maintain a 2.5 grade point average and attend the school at least half-time. In 2012, there were about… (read  more)

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