Today, President Obama unveiled a new plan to make two years of Community College free “to responsible students across America”—and it’s just as flawed as that knee-jerk gut reaction you just had told you it is.

So, the first two years of community college would be free “for anybody who’s willing to work for it.” He says it will help train a stronger workforce—but at what cost?

Under the proposed program, the federal government would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. The states would then have to cover the remaining tuition, meaning the bill would be paid in full for “eligible students.”

For the program to fit with Obama’s vision, community colleges would have to change their programs to fit educational standards that haven’t even been written yet (emphasis mine):

Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that are either 1) academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities, or 2) occupational training programs with high graduation rates and lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Community colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes.

What does a potential student have to do to qualify? Attend school at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA (that’s a C+ average,) and “make steady progress” toward completing the program.

This is vintage Obama, and it feels like the kind of ploy a politician would use after being rendered legislatively impotent by a disastrous midterm cycle. If the states want to decide on an individual basis whether or not to offer reduced tuition for community college students, thats their prerogative. But using federal funds to create yet another coercive incentive program goes beyond the bounds of the duty or purpose of the federal government.

The good taxpayers of Twitter are less than thrilled with such a dramatic expansion of our entitlement culture:

If this was just a preview of what’s to come, I can’t WAIT to liveblog the full State of the Union address on January 20.

You can watch the full video of his remarks here.


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