Editorial: Community college plan needs to be implemented


President Obama’s initiative to expand opportunities for higher education must become a priority.  

Editorial Board

As teenagers, we all learned a valuable lesson when getting our first jobs and credit cards — nothing is for free.

So when President Barack Obama released his objective to provide nearly nine million students with a “free community college” plan, the pot sweetened quite a bit for those looking in to higher education.

The ISD editorial board has already expressed the opinion that this absolutely necessary to move forward to providing students with easier access to higher education. However, the funding was in question at the time and the board felt it necessary to address that side of the issue.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said not to fix what isn’t broken. But that’s just where he’s wrong. When community college first started, the overall plan worked, and it has worked up until the past couple of years. Even with lower tuition rates, the amount of student debt accumulated — now at more than one trillion dollars nationally — is at the bursting point for some students. Some argue to say “if you can’t afford it, don’t do it.” But in today’s society, it has become very much a survive and advance kind of world.

If you don’t have a degree from a two-year community college or a four-year university, statistics indicate that the odds are set against you in a society that places increasing value on a college education, while that education becomes less and less affordable at the same time.

Whether we call it free community college or something else, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the urgency needed to put a plan like this into place, one that will better future generations of students who are entering a crucial decision making time on whether they can afford college.

This program is an investment in the future of American prosperity. Increased access to the often unattainable treasure that is higher education is an integral step in growing the American middle class.

More than anything else, this program would provide millions of Americans with a clear path for improving their lives and the lives of their families. A parent’s experiences with higher education play a significant role in their child’s likelihood to attend college or seek higher education following high school.

Therefore, this program has the potential to initiate a generations long increase in the educational opportunities, and thereby the success of Americans.

This program will finally work to correct our socioeconomic system, which privileges the inherently privileged and leaves poor and minority Americans lagging in the wake of progress.