Obama proposes free education

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President Barack Obama’s new educational proposal has a mass of college students at ease. His plan: two years of free community college.

It’s a lifesaver to people who don’t qualify for financial aid or Board of Governors waiver fee.

The proposal means a five-percent increase – or $3.6 billion – in discretionary education funding, up to $70.7 billion from the current $67.1 billion in 2015, according to U.S. News and World Report.

“Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see is the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it …,” said Obama in a briefing from Airforce One in January. “It’s something we can accomplish and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anyone in the world.”

The proposal could possibly impact nine million students and save individuals close to $3,800 a year.

Under the plan, students must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average (GPA) over half of a three-semester trial period in which the federal government will cover $3,800 and states willing to participate are expected to cover the rest of the remaining funds.

“I’m already set with financial aid, but in somehow I exceed the amount of credits. I’d definitely take advantage of two years free of community college,” said Delta student Danny Franco. “Qualifying would be easy, I already maintain above a 2.5.”

Free community college isn’t a new concept in Tennessee. Last year Gov. Bill Haslam announced The “Tennessee Promise,” which is similar to what Obama pitched to congress during this year’s State of the Union address.

High school graduates with a GPA of 2.0 or higher will get two years of community college or trade school for free.

In the 2013-14 school year 79 percent of student population had fee waivers, according to information provided by Tina Lent, Director of Financial Aid, Scholarships and Veterans Services.

“It’ll save me a lot of money,” said student Justin Virk. “I don’t qualify for financial aid and units are expensive. Too bad I won’t benefit since I’m transferring to a university next semester.”