Granite Bay Today

New proposition of free college raises interest

Hannah Xu

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This article was written by Matt Ontiveros, staff writer for the Granite Bay Gazette.

President Obama recently proposed two free years of community college to nine million students in his State of the Union.

Community college can be a valuable step towards students’ careers. Granite Bay High School alumni David Miller attended Sierra College’s Fire Academy and is now pursuing his dream as a fireman paramedic.

“Community college gives young people the time to make the huge decision of what career they want to pursue” Miller said. “Community college can get a bad (representation) thanks to those students that do not apply themselves.”

Miller is very appreciative of the opportunities he was given at Sierra College and his discovery of the value of education.

However whether community college can successfully receive more enrollment is in dispute. GBHS College and Career Counselor Cindi Underwood said that community colleges are going to have to add onto their current infrastructure.

“(Community colleges) definitely (have) some overcrowding in their more popular fields” Underwood said.

GBHS Counselor Paul Stordahl believes additional staffing would be another necessary accommodation.

One alternative would be to spend the 60 billion dollars allocated in President Obama’s plan on reinforcing high school education.

“Junior colleges have a lot of certificate programs and job training programs that make it a better investment (for the government) than high school,” Stordahl said.

These job training programs are much cheaper than attending a trade school when preparing for the job market. Strengthening community college would benefit high school graduates as well as other adults looking to return to education for further preparation for a career.

Underwood would prefer to see the funds split between the two.

“We are fortunate for our school district, however there are a lot of inter city high schools that are hurting” Underwood said.

Ultimately student debt still remains as a major concern for GBHS students thinking about college.

“For most people money is an issue when it comes to student tuition” Stordahl said.

David Miller views community colleges inexpensiveness, and zero cost under this new plan, as one of the biggest benefits of attending.

“(Community college) withholds (…) distractions of university life while keeping from breaking the bank,” Miller said. “Students that actually work hard and are willing to apply themselves have no problem moving on within two years or even less.”

President Obama’s plan would require students to maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average to receive free tuition and limit aid to two years. However students only have to attend community college part time, appealing to the adults returning to college for career training.

GBHS senior Keaton Donald plans on attending community college next year. Donald said GBHS has sufficiently prepared him for his next step in education.

“I wouldn’t necessarily feel more motivated if my two years were free,” Donald said. “I would still have the same mindset to succeed.”

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New proposition of free college raises interest