BENTONVILLE (KFSM) - President Obama says he wants to make community college tuition free for millions of Americans.
However, the proposal has one local community college concerned about how the logistics.
“It certainly sounds like something exciting, and that would benefit all of our students,” said Steven Hinds, spokesperson for Northwest Arkansas Community College. “But, 75% of this program is paid by the federal government and 25% by the state of Arkansas. Well, where does that money come from in the state of Arkansas? Where would the funding come from? What does that mean? What are the requirements to maintain that tuition free status?”
President Obama made the announcement in Tennessee on Friday (Jan. 9.)
The first two years at a community college would be free for students who meet certain requirements.
According to the president, free tuition would be given for the first two years to students. They would need to maintain a 2.5 grade point average, and be enrolled at least half-time to qualify.
Some NWACC students say they wish the program was around for their first two years of schooling.
“It would help [students] a lot,” said Taylor Gentry, a sophomore at NWACC. “You would have so much more free time to do all the things you need to do to get through college. It would be just a really helpful thing to help all the kids get through college.”
Hinds says NWACC knows the president's proposal would benefit lot students. But, he says the plan needs more work.
“We appreciate the fact that president Obama is saying that community colleges play a big role in communities,” Hinds said. “I think that it will allow additional students to come to the community college, who may not attend college at all. We just think it’s a little too early to get students real excited; until we know this is going to happen, and where the funding will come from.”
A Tulsa Community College representative said the school already has a program in place similar to Obama's community college proposal. The college released a statement saying, "We are pleased to see the Tulsa Achieves concept recognized on a national level and copied in other communities."
It is expected the initiative will save students $3,800 each school year.