“America’s College Promise”


President Obama has a goal of making American first in four-year degree attainment by 2020 (Photo Credit: Chanel Taylor).

President Obama is in the third quarter of the second term of his presidency and is more focused than ever on pushing legislation and reform in areas he’s most passionate about. On Jan. 9 President Obama released a video advocating his proposal known as America’s College Promise. If this proposition succeeds, the Obama administration will leave a lasting impact on education reform.

President Obama’s plan would give students two years of free education at a community college under the strict provision that they graduate on time. Students would obtain the first half of their bachelor’s degree in these two years and could transfer to a university to continue their education. The federal government’s College Promise would form a partnership with states and waive the tuition fees of applicable students in high-quality programs at community colleges. If all states contribute, about 9 million students would be helped, and a full-time community college student could save more than $3,000 per year.

President Obama is creating a chance for equal opportunity. If his initiative is passed, many poor and minority students would benefit. As long as students are willing to put forth the work, they would be able to fight for higher wages, promotions, and potentially better jobs. It could also provide students an avenue for financial stability. This proposal is essentially an boost for students who are serious about their education, not a free pass for students to fail out of college.

Many students from low-income families cannot afford college, and without scholarships, their chances of higher education are slim. Additionally, those who make it to college are forced to work part-time and eventually drop out. Furthermore, those who graduate are often swamped by student loans for many years after obtaining their degree. For the first time, student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in America, according to the White House. In 2013, the unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma was 17.5%, compared to 7% for those with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. College is a necessity in leading a successful life, strengthening the economy, and boosting the middle class.
Congress must get on board with “America’s College Promise” to bring opportunity to those would otherwise be without.