Community College Should Be Free Research Proposal Example

Type of paper: Research Proposal

Topic: Students, Education, College, Community, College Education, Initiative, Banking, Economics

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2021/01/08


The debate regarding whether community college should be free or not has raged on in the past years. This is highly likely due to the colleges being identified as the key avenue to acquisition of skills training and higher education for many. With many governments and institutions focusing on competitiveness on both the global and state front, they are actively seeking ways to enhance the access to community college education (Cengage learning 14). The broader access is just but an element of improving educational opportunity and the established upward mobility that is associated with it. There is need to put emphasis on the need to address student engagement, retention and graduation if the same students ought to realize their full potential. Universal community college education is thus perceived as a viable option in mitigating these concerns


Free community college has been a strong proposal in a number of global governments. Its greatest proponent is the Obama administration that believes it can back the program’s over 9 million students. The proposal dubbed as the “American’s College Promise” intends to ensure that the universality of the technical schools or community colleges prevails by all means. Many educationists receive this as a prudent step in opening up a new world to many students that are concerned about college fees and careers. The program heavily draws its positive outlook from the Tennessee model that provided free entry-level tuitions to over 90% of the high school graduates. With the help of both the federal and state governments, the program can be fully financed and implemented.

Main Body

With tertiary education becoming a mandatory factor in many professions, there is need to ensure that as many as possible students access it. Education is a fundamental right and thus it is prudent for any government to ensure its citizenry can acquire it to its highest possible level possible. At college level, many opportunities for growth are attained in the intellectual, professional and personal realms (Desai 113). This development fosters critical thinking which unlocks doors of knowledge and perception that cannot be provided by basic secondary education. The government has the duty to facilitate this by ensuring that community college education is made available for all students. This is the ultimate step towards having a well-informed populace.
Community college education should be free in order to enhance social equity and equality. The program effectively provides a somewhat leveled playing field for many students originating from underprivileged backgrounds. With community college education many can acquire skills or the much needed stepping stone to higher education. The program can ensure education continues playing its key role as an equalizer in the contemporary society. In the United States, for instance, racial/ethnic equity is of great significance. Student from different backgrounds have differing enrolment rates. Education Statistics Quarterly Journal Of 2003 cites that 71 % of white students were likely to receive a regular on-time postsecondary education as compared to 62% and 66% for Black and Hispanic students respectively. The “Tennessee College Promise” affirms that this can be reversed as it enhanced the average enrolment for all students to an all-time high of 90 %( Hudson 133). This accentuates the fact that free college education not only makes education accessible but also ensures it attains its pivotal role of being the ultimate equalizer as intended by framers of formal education systems. The prospects provided by this education ensure that students drawn from various social strata are able to enhance their own future utility despite their present standing.
Another reason why community college education should be free is the economic, cultural and political development it accrues to a nation. A nation that values tertiary education is able to benefit in three key areas. The first are is economic development which is fostered by a well-educated populace that is able to innovate and produce the necessary goods and services. With the facilitation of free community college education, the “smart economy” culture can be enhanced which acts a core parameter of economic investment viability. Cultural relevance is another area that is highly enhanced by tertiary education. With studies such as arts intangible benefits are experienced by the communities through beauty in crafts, painting architecture et cetera (Cengage Learning 13). Students of history, classics, literature and anthropology on the other hand enable the society appreciate its relevance and place in the world by understanding its past. The community colleges further offer platforms for many young students to learn and acquire leadership skills. Tertiary education allows the “leaders of tomorrow” cliché associated with the young students to come to fruition. It provides a platform for the leaders of tomorrow to exhibit and tap into their true worth.
The community college fees and loans are too great for many students to foot particularly specific those that emanate from disadvantaged backgrounds. For many, tertiary education loans are the norm. These loans can heavily hinder future growth of the graduates with demand for repayment. This may translate to uptake of jobs that these graduates are necessarily not best suited for. The repayment may take a number of years which may leave a graduate under the scrutiny of creditors for much of their working lives (Schramm, Aldeman, Rotherman, Brown, and Cross 8). In some instances, students may take loans against their family homes as collateral. This may ultimately mean that the pressure of repayment does not only affect the student alone but also his or her family that is keen on risking much for the benefit of education. A New York Times article dubbed A Generation Hobbled by The Soaring Cost of College clearly posits the college debt scenario. The authors Martin and Lehren narrate the story of Kelsey Griffith, a college graduate that has to juggle between two waitressing jobs while at the same living with her mother in order to clear her $120,000 college debt (Martin and Lehren). The authors portend that the loans are creating overeducated individuals in jobs that do not commensurate with their educational credentials.
Another reason why community college education ought to be free is the existing evidence that such an initiative is feasible. The free community college education program was effectively rolled out in Tennessee by Governor, Bill Haslam in 2014. The plan, “Tennessee Promise”, is estimated to have drawn applications from 58,000 students which statistically culminates to 90% of the Tennessee state high school graduates (Cengage Learning 13). This was a laudable move made by a single state through its own local financing. It is this successful roll out that has even encouraged the Obama administration to focus on how best to make free community college education universal in the US. Free tuition, according to the Cengage Learning report on “The Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges” will save students close to $3800 annually. It is these facts that make the initiative viable for many nations that are keen on replicating what Governor Haslam has done or implemented in Tennessee.
On the contrary, opponents of free community college education posit a different picture regarding the initiative. They argue that the quality of the education will be compromised if it were to be made free. The initiative will ultimately translate to a surge in numbers of students in the community colleges. Additionally, this may bring about eventual strain on the facilities in these colleges which may have not anticipated hosting large numbers of systems. The opponents further posit that the numbers of students should correlate with the expansion of education amenities as well as teachers or lecturer ratio to student. The quality of education will also be translated to devalued graduates that may not effectively compete in both the national and global job market. Dr. Paul Geatrix in his article, University Isn’t Just a Business-And The Student Isn’t Always Right supports thee notions. Geatrix argues that immense investments should be done to the education system before making it universal. Community colleges should be financed by the funds that are aimed at pursuing large number of students via free tuition.
Free community college education will also be costly on the part of the state or nation. More students will bring about additional costs such as employment of more teachers, expansion of facilities et cetera (Desai 115). These costs may to a great extent lead to the increment of taxes leveled on citizens as well as other budgets aimed in other sectors such as defense. In the long run, it may hinder the overall effectiveness of other sectors of the government. This is greatly due to the inefficient allocation of state resources which emanates from the unprecedented diversion of funds to such a large scale initiative.
Nothing is for free. This is another notion perpetuated by the opponents of the free community college education. There should be an investment on the part of the students to ensure that they appreciate its value (Desai 119). College education is incomparable to the secondary and primary education; it requires the input of the student to ensure that they realize its essentiality. Student loans can actually ensure that the culture of hard work is enhanced and inculcated in the young college graduates.


The debate regarding whether or not community college should be free or not brings about interesting facts. As aforementioned, the initiative has been tried and tested in the state of Tennessee achieving exemplary results under the stewardship of the Republican Governor Haslam providing free entry-level tuitions to over 90% of the high school graduates. It is these fact coupled by other reasons that make the initiative viable for any nation or state keen on moving forward. The first reason that the initiative is brilliant is the fact that it enables more students to access the necessary skills or opportunities to further their education. This is subsequently followed by the need to enhance social equality and equity. Cultural, economic and leadership development is the next benefit accrued to free community college education. This enables many students to acquire skills that may prove prudent in the stated areas. Another reason is the reduction of the burden of student loans that impact many graduates in the long term. Opponents of the initiative, on the other hand, cite quality and cost being two aspects that negate it. They argue that free college education devalues the quality of graduates churned out b this system. The influx of half-baked graduates, they posit, will be harmful to the greater economy. The cost as a factor is pointed out to be great and injurious to the economic well-being of other sectors that may need more funding. The cost of implementation, further, opponents note may have a profound impact on the effectiveness of the program as a whole in terms of sustenance and development.

Works Cited

Cengage Learning. "The Debate on Free Tuition at Community Colleges." (2014): 2-35. Web. <>.
Desai, Sean A. "Is Comprehensiveness Taking Its Toll on Community Colleges?: An In-depth Analysis of Community Colleges' Missions and Their Effectiveness."Community College Journal of Research and Practice 36.2 (2012): 111-121. Print.
Geatrix, Paul. "University isn't just a business – and the student isn't always right." The Guardian [London] 15 Mar. 2011: n. pag. Web.
Hudson, Lisa. "Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Path to a Postsecondary Credential."EDUCATION STATISTICS REVIEW 5.2 (2003): 129-134. Print.
Martin, Andrew, and Andrew W. Lehren. "A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College." The New York Times [New York] 13 May 2012: A1. Print.
Schramm, John B., Chad Aldeman, Andy Rotherman, Rachel Brown, and Jordan Cross. "SMART SHOPPERS: The end of the “College for All” debate?" (2013): 2-16. Print.

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