Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Problem With Obama’s “Free Community College” Proposal

Taken from: Judith Scott-Clayton and Thomas Bailey, Money.

President Obama's free college plan won't actually raise the number of college graduates without improvements in the way community colleges help students succeed, say two education researchers. President Obama’s ambitious proposal to make community college tuition free would certainly make enrolling in college more affordable. It may also induce students to stay there longer.

However, reducing costs for students on its own is unlikely to significantly increase the number of students who finish degrees. Consider: Of all of the students who enrolled in public community college for the first time in the fall of 2003, only one-quarter earned any kind of certificate or associate’s degree within six years. Another 12% earned a bachelor’s degree within that six-year period. If we want to significantly improve educational outcomes, we need to both make college more affordable so more students can enroll, and make the reforms needed to ensure community college students can succeed in their courses, complete their programs, and graduate within a reasonable amount of time. Read more...