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Should two years of comity college be free?

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15 April 2015
Should Two Years of Community College Be Free?
Community colleges in the United States are mainly attended by people, who are rejoining the education system after a gap of a few years. In most cases the community colleges act as preparatory schools for students who intend to reinitiate their education in another direction. In some cases it helps the people employed in different industries to refine their skills and improve their positions in the job markets. Given the fact that education is increasingly becoming costly in the United States of America and around the world, a good number of the students in community colleges are applying for student aid. This means that apart from students, who are primarily focusing on their educational needs, people who choose education as a means to further their career rather than academic activities are also looking towards student aids. This raises the question if the two years of community college education should be made free of cost.
The United States of America has one of the costliest education systems in the entire world. While other developed countries like Germany, Denmak and Norway are moving towards a virtually free of cost education, the US has systematically been burdening the students with high education costs. This means that students from economically weaker backgrounds would be unable to provide themselves with a proper education unless they put themselves in enormous debt.

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As a way to circumvent this cycle of debt and poverty, many student take up jobs at various industries and then attempt to continue their education once they had established a sound financial base for themselves. Community colleges provide this easy opportunity to most students and are thus a tool for development of the workforce of the country. This brings us to the context of the US president Barrack Obama who proposed “to lower the cost of community college — to zero.” (Kelly and Kevin 260)
The president himself has made a number of valid arguments to support his case. President Obama stated that “Forty percent of our college students choose community college,” which means that around 7.7 million students in the United States choose to pursue their education in community colleges (Cohen 566). By enabling these students to pursue education free of cost, the government could ensure that the hurdles faced by economically backward groups in advancing through the system would be removed. If the factor of economic constraints in education were to be removed, the nation could progress far ahead in terms of both economic and social growth. Community colleges have a far more diverse demography that most regular colleges in the United States and is perhaps the one of the guardians of the ‘American dream’, where anyone can achieve excellence by dint of their hard work. Making community colleges free will also encourages the workforce to update themselves with newer and newer skills, and keep up with the changes in the world around themselves. Among community college students, there are older people looking for better jobs, war veterans looking to catch up with the society around them, single parents trying to ensure a better life for their children and young students starting out with their lives.
It is the duty of each and every individual to work towards to progress and growth of their country and humanity at large, and it is the duty of the government to ensure that the efforts of the citizens reach their full potential and is directed in a productive manner. Given these facts, it seems quite logical that the government should make efforts to lower the costs of education in the country.
The move has also raised a barrage of counter-arguments from a number of sources. The primary argument that this has brought about is the question of government interference in the field of education. In the United States, it is expected that government will interfere very little in most matters leaving both the individuals and institutions to pursue their own goals and dreams. Attempts to make education in community colleges free would make them vulnerable to the whims and fancies of the government (Clark 575). One of the major arguments that have been brought against this move is the effect on the quality of education, which it will have. Many fear that by regulating education, the colleges will no longer have an incentive to perform better. It has been argued that the same might take place in case of students, who may come to value education less if it is available to everyone for free. Few have even criticized it as a socialist move that focuses on the expenditure of the taxes paid by American citizens on a form of wealth redistribution program.
The apprehensions come from several quarters including politicians and academics and need to be taken into account before any meaningful progress can be made in the direction of improvement of the US education system (Tollefson 402).
In order to focus on the system of education and its improvement, all sides need to be taken into confidence. The progress of the nation can only be achieved if there is effective cooperation between the several sections of the society in the US. While it would be wise to decrease the burden of education on the students, one cannot afford to lower the quality of education at the same time.
Work Cited
Cohen, Arthur. The American Community College. San Francisco. CA: Jossey-Bass. 2008. Print.
Clark, Burton R. The “cooling-out” function in higher education. American Journal of Sociology. 1960. Print.
Kelly, Andrew; James, Kevin. Obama’s Community College Plan: The Wrong Way to Improve Job Skills. American Enterprise Institute. 2015. Print.
Tollefson, Terrence A. Community college governance, funding, and accountability: A century of issues and trends. Community College Journal of Research and Practice. 2009. Print.

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