The Pros And Cons Of Free Community College

Illustration for article titled The Pros And Cons Of Free Community College

As part of an effort to make higher education accessible to all Americans, President Obama has proposed offering two free years of community college to qualified students, a plan critics say is too expensive and misses the mark on education reform. Here are the pros and cons of making the first two years of community college free:


  • Gives students a nice two-year buffer between high school and their first data entry position
  • More weird 43-year-olds in backs of classes
  • Would benefit American businesses by pumping millions into the nation’s bus ad industry
  • Has potential to elevate whatever still remains of middle class
  • Students can always take on massive debt later
  • Prepares students for eventual transfer to a four-year college where credits they earned will be completely rejected
  • Since plan has no chance of being made into law, projected cost is an affordable $0


  • Not enough room in Ivory Tower for all these newcomers
  • Cuts into bottom line of universally successful for-profit colleges
  • Employers don’t need a bunch of entitled community college graduates expecting a $26,000 salary their first year
  • College is full of beer parties and unruly behavior
  • Affluent community college alumni should be funding this, not taxpayers
  • Upends traditional American ideal that students who can’t afford tuition are not deserving of college
  • Slippery slope to other improvements in public education