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    1. #1
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      kimbersmom's Avatar
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      Should Community College be free in the United States?

      Can we have a semi-political discussion without someone getting banned? Let's see! This board draws from a different base than my usual haunts, so I'm really interested in your thoughts.

      Background: As part of his State of the Union speech, President Obama proposed that community college should be free for students for two years. The federal government would cover 3/4 of the costs, with the states pitching in for the remainder.

      What do you think? I'll share my thoughts after some others have posted.

      Please remember to keep comments to the plan and not your love/hate/indifference to Obama himself.
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    2. #2
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      I feel like something needs to be done about the current state of higher education. The expense has gotten outrageous, and student loan debt and what to do about that is a whole other topic. Obviously these services need to be paid for, but does it really need to be that expensive? Really, paying for community college (at least here) is super cheap. And I know in MO, we have an A+ program where it is pretty easy for high school students to get scholarships which I know cover at least a couple years of the tuition for free. So I'm not really sure that it is a huge benefit to make two years of community college free, but it might motivate some people to go who would not otherwise, just b/c of the fact that it is free.

      Like healthcare (another topic!), I think that we are not doing something right when it comes to that or to education. I'm not knowledgeable enough by any means to come up with an answer, and probably no solution would satisfy everyone. But both areas need to do something different.

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    4. #3
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      As someone who is paying off a massive student loan payment and has attended a community college....I do think this would be a great thing. College is ridiculously expensive. I don't think it should just be for kids fresh out of high school because life happens (not sure if that is in the guidelines or not) and it should be for ANY person attending college for the first 2 years. I literally want to puke every time I make a loan payment.
      “Don't allow your happiness to be interrupted by overly judgmental people. The problem is not you, because even if you do good all the time, they would still find a way to judge you wrongly.”
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    5. #4
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      Yes, I do think something needs to be done.

      I have college aged nephews who are struggling to pay for classes, work full time jobs and make ends meet.

      The cost of higher education is ridiculous

    6. #5
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      I went to college 20+ years ago. at that time, community college was about 2k a year(1k/semester) and everyone I knew was on financial aid/scholarship of some kind. The money problems never seemed to stem from the education, but the partying. now university/4 yr school was totally different and very expensive. most had parents pay for education, some worked for it/took out loans and a low % got full ride. Are parents not paying for kids college anymore? is it a huge problem? honestly higher education is not one of my top ten concerns. But I will give my opinion that it should be a state thing. I hate federal govt trying to run every state and make every state be the same. if thats goin to be the case, just get rid of the 50 states and call us 'merica. if you dont like the state you live in, move! quality jobs with a decent entry pay is definitely a concern. everyone knows thats who does 90% of the work and gets paid the least.
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    7. #6
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      I watched 60 minutes last night as they had the republican leader of the senate and house on and both immediately crushed the entire idea. Their reasoning is that it would be too expensive which I do agree with them. However, they both said they just worked their minimum wage jobs and paid their own way through.

      Ok this is where I think a huge divide is. First, I agree with the republicans, where this would be too expensive. I also put myself through college back in the 80's working as well at Purdue. This was rather easy to do. I didn't need loans and didn't amass debt. However, 5 years ago I went back for a second degree, I make way much more money now than I did back then and I am graduating this year about 30k in debt. I also paid as much as I could for my classes while I was taking them, roughly $400 a month, my employer even paid a large percentage as well, and I still am in the hole.

      However, here is the thing, the scale of the cost of college then, when the republican leaders went and the minimum wage was much closer. The cost of higher education and the minimum wage now is off the charts. A lot of it is just a profit grind. You look at Colleague Deans and they are making as much money as CEO's of large corporations. I personally would love to see the cost of college regulated, I believe things like medical care, education, among other things shouldn't be for profit. Your basing your education and the future on how much money you have or how much your willing to go into debt. I personally don't think this is working nor can the US continue down this path. When you look at the US is ranked very low in education anymore.

      The other thing that really just screams scam, you look at books and that is a scam right there. I went to a math class one day I had to buy a new math class because a new edition came out. This was the 13th edition. $250. I couldn't buy a used book because this was the first semester of the new edition. Why? Math hasn't changed. They are not inventing different ways to add multiply and divide. The most upsetting thing, the teacher had the last edition. He couldn't afford the new edition, which he also pointed out he didn't need. He compared our edition and his older edition, page numbers, chapters everything was identical. The only thing they did was move around the problems. So Problem 3 in his book was problem 5 in mine. The problems were identical, they didn't even change the numbers. Every 2 years a new edition comes out and millions of student are forced to buy a book at top dollar that they will then resell at bottom dollar back to the school bookstore, which they will mark way up again and resell for the next couple years. These kinds of things are just plain wrong and some of the things that really needs to be regulated to drop the cost back down to a reasonable level.

      The worst thing, as I graduate this year, with a second bachelors degree. This give me a Masters in Computer science, a bachelors in business management. I can honestly say I learned absolutely nothing, in any of my classes working on this second degree. I mean that wholeheartedly. I learned nothing, I am now in debt, and well you could say I learned a valuable lesson on the real state of the American Education System. I also know from a lot of experience, as I work with and am friends with a lot of Canadians. I think most Canadian High School Graduates are better educated than most American College Graduates. I have a great appreciation for this anytime I have meaningful intellectual conversations with them.

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    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
      I watched 60 minutes last night as they had the republican leader of the senate and house on and both immediately crushed the entire idea. Their reasoning is that it would be too expensive which I do agree with them. However, they both said they just worked their minimum wage jobs and paid their own way through.

      Ok this is where I think a huge divide is. First, I agree with the republicans, where this would be too expensive. I also put myself through college back in the 80's working as well at Purdue. This was rather easy to do. I didn't need loans and didn't amass debt. However, 5 years ago I went back for a second degree, I make way much more money now than I did back then and I am graduating this year about 30k in debt. I also paid as much as I could for my classes while I was taking them, roughly $400 a month, my employer even paid a large percentage as well, and I still am in the hole.

      However, here is the thing, the scale of the cost of college then, when the republican leaders went and the minimum wage was much closer. The cost of higher education and the minimum wage now is off the charts. A lot of it is just a profit grind. You look at Colleague Deans and they are making as much money as CEO's of large corporations. I personally would love to see the cost of college regulated, I believe things like medical care, education, among other things shouldn't be for profit. Your basing your education and the future on how much money you have or how much your willing to go into debt. I personally don't think this is working nor can the US continue down this path. When you look at the US is ranked very low in education anymore.

      The other thing that really just screams scam, you look at books and that is a scam right there. I went to a math class one day I had to buy a new math class because a new edition came out. This was the 13th edition. $250. I couldn't buy a used book because this was the first semester of the new edition. Why? Math hasn't changed. They are not inventing different ways to add multiply and divide. The most upsetting thing, the teacher had the last edition. He couldn't afford the new edition, which he also pointed out he didn't need. He compared our edition and his older edition, page numbers, chapters everything was identical. The only thing they did was move around the problems. So Problem 3 in his book was problem 5 in mine. The problems were identical, they didn't even change the numbers. Every 2 years a new edition comes out and millions of student are forced to buy a book at top dollar that they will then resell at bottom dollar back to the school bookstore, which they will mark way up again and resell for the next couple years. These kinds of things are just plain wrong and some of the things that really needs to be regulated to drop the cost back down to a reasonable level.

      The worst thing, as I graduate this year, with a second bachelors degree. This give me a Masters in Computer science, a bachelors in business management. I can honestly say I learned absolutely nothing, in any of my classes working on this second degree. I mean that wholeheartedly. I learned nothing, I am now in debt, and well you could say I learned a valuable lesson on the real state of the American Education System. I also know from a lot of experience, as I work with and am friends with a lot of Canadians. I think most Canadian High School Graduates are better educated than most American College Graduates. I have a great appreciation for this anytime I have meaningful intellectual conversations with them.
      YES! Books are a scam! I have worked at 2 colleges btw...I know the backside of how they work as well as when I attended as a student. I even did online college for a bit and oddly enough that costs MORE than attending an actual school. Tell me why I pay more to teach myself? Also, a HUGE problem is that you get a stipend check if you have federal loans, what they don't tell you (but I knew from working at the school) was you don't have to take it all! Just take what covers your costs (books and classes) and send the rest back to pay on your loan. When you take your full stipend each time, it really racks up the loan debt. You can now pay back your loan over 20 years (I think) and the remaining balance, they will "forgive" but whatever you owe after that so many years of paying, you have to claim as INCOME and pay taxes on. Now tell me, who can afford to do that? Especially if it is over several thousand dollars.

    10. #8
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      I'm completely against it. When Obama says the government will pay 75% he really means the taxpayers will pay 75%. Our government is trillions of dollars in debt, they can't afford all the "social programs" they are supporting now, so why in the hell would they commit to paying for this. The burden on the taxpayers in this country is way to high now.

      When my kids were growing up, I flat told them I would not pay for them to go to college. If they wanted to go, they would need to find a way to pay for it. Both of my kids went to a vocational high school, and they both had a decent paying job in their field the day they graduated. My daughter ended up joining the USAF. She got out after ten years because of the deployments and she had two kids to take care of. She is now pursuing a bachelors degree while working for the government. My son got a job as a plumbers apprentice, went to fours years of plumbers school and is a master plumber.

      If someone wants to continue their education, it should be up to them to pay for it. I agree it's gotten ridiculously expensive for a four year degree, and realistically it's going to be a waste of money if you can't find a job when you are done, which happens with great frequency. Four people where I work have four year degrees, one has a masters in history. Two are working as waitresses, one is a line cook, the one with the masters is our owner. She co-owns the business with her father, who has his own restaurant. She's never worked anywhere where she needed her degree.

      You seriously have to see what the potential for your return on investment is in the field of study you are pursuing. Otherwise like a lot of young people you have six figures of debt, can't find a job in your field, and work a subsistence job to get by. It's a sad situation for a lot of people.

      So as an overburdened tax payer, I'd have to give a big no to this.

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    12. #9
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      I'm a yes. It's not just about access but about training for the next round of business/technology requirements. Look at the amount of jobs that remain unfilled because of lack of training. The amount of waste in govt is appalling. If we addressed waste and the loopholes provided to corporations and the 1% we could fund this. We also need to make sure these colleges are able to offer the coursework required.

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    14. #10
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      when it comes to money, waste, govt, etc...I was amazed and appalled that when I was in Afghanistan we spent around 2 billion a day. yes a day! so now that iraq/afghanistan are over, where is that money going? our society doesnt care...havent heard any news on it. my point is that politicians have no problem spending money if their is an upside. I dont see an upside with free community college to be honest.

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