President Obama proposed on Thursday that students should be able to attend two free years of community college if they keep their grades up, but the lack of details so far has left critics wondering if the proposal is actually feasible.
If there is one issue that has the power to truly drive the Black vote as we grow closer to the next presidential election, it’s education.
Whether it’s increasing equality in education at the K-12 level or breaking down barriers to secondary education for Black and low-income students, education will likely be a key concern for Black voters in 2016.
President Obama’s latest proposal is taking a stab at giving more students the opportunity to go to college as long as they can maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5.
He made the announcement in a video that was posted on YouTube. While the end goal is one many people can certainly get behind, some observers couldn’t help but wonder where the money for two free years of college is going to come from.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the proposed plan will cost the government $60 billion over a decade and that the White House will be taking on 75 percent of that cost.
As for the other 25 percent, it will be up to states to shovel out the extra funds.
Officials said more details will be announced later along with the president’s budget.
If the proposal turns out to be a success, the administration believes roughly 9 million students would be able to participate and save close to $4,000 in educational expenses.
While the idea has certainly caused a lot of fuss, it actually isn’t that revolutionary, as there are several models that show the plan isn’t as far fetched as some people would like to make it seem.
The Chicago Star scholarship program officials unveiled a similar program last fall.
The program covers the cost of tuition plus fees and books to City Colleges of Chicago “pathway programs” for Chicago Public School grads who have at least a 3.0 grade-point average and are academically prepared for college-level math and English.
For the Chicago program, students are required to apply for all possible federal and state financial aid that they are eligible for.
Whatever funds those financial awards don’t cover, the scholarship will take care of up to three years.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained that the plan is to ensure parents do not have to financially drain themselves in order to make sure their child has a fair chance at getting a much-needed education.
“If you do your job, study hard and get a ‘B,’ we will do our job and hold our side of the bargain,” Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You will go to community college for free. No parent should go into the poorhouse or take a second mortgage out to give their children a chance at a middle-class life, and a good job and a good education. Not in the City of Chicago.”
Now, Obama is arguing that no family in any of the 50 states should have to face such a dark reality.
Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many students and their families are already facing, especially in the Black community.
Nobody is questioning the intentions behind the proposal, but critics are desperately waiting for a clearer explanation as to how the proposal will come to fruition.
“With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan,” said Cory Fritz, press secretary for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Either way, the president is standing firm behind the proposal and insists that in America everybody should have “the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits.”
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Be aware of false promises.