Free community college: too good to be true?

Martin Becerra

Freedom: it’s a beautiful thing. It’s like the life giving color that paints the paths of one’s journey. Freedom and its entirety is made possible from education.

As Americans, we have the freedom to be educated, the right to choose our own path and the unfortunate right to neglect such a privilege.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama recently proposed free community college tuition for two years in order to increase college graduation rate and usher more people into the middle class.

Depending on which side of the fence one sits on, this is either an outrageous, impossible dream or something that could be possible with work and sacrifice.

The proposal is modeled after the “Tennessee Promise,” a scholarship program created by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The program made Tennessee the first state to offer free community college. The requirements needed for all students are maintaining a 2.0 GPA and to complete eight hours of community service per semester.

Granted, many questions arise from the proposal. For example: how would the nation pay for this and how does it ensure increased graduation rates?

Virtually, no one would argue against free college but the same would most likely argue about paying to pave way to make college free.

In some cases when one gives something free, it is often neglected and not appreciated by the recipient because they didn’t earn it.

What’s to say the same if people’s education was paid for?

It’s bad enough that students drop classes due to laziness despite paying tuition out of their own pockets but for tuition to be paid for by someone else would probably be far easier.

The odds of free college will not likely raise the graduation rates as much as it would appeal to many.

As great as it sounds, odds are it may not pass on a federal level but with local and state levels, it is very possible for inspiration to spark from this proposal.

As challenged as Obama’s plan is, maybe the nation isn’t quite ready for a change that monumental.

Before education was public, it was a luxury only obtainable by the wealthy. It is very possible that when the proposal came to make it public, it would have been widely challenged.

But imagine if education was never public. Most of us would have only received education in a public school until around sixth grade. A vast majority may have never been allowed the opportunity to pay for college let alone attend it as a result of a lack of education.

Thankfully, we don’t live in that alternate universe and we all received a free education up until high school.

Free college may seem like an impossible and expensive dream but isn’t it because of the “impossible” that this nation formed and made a name for itself?

Wasn’t it impossible for a small band of 13 colonies to face a superpower or for mankind to fly or explore space?

We get to enjoy the luxury of the accomplishments of the generations before us because they chose to not let “impossible” stop them from advancing and doing good for mankind.

Maybe free college is not in the foreseeable future but it is definitely worth considering.