Free Community College Coming Soon? President Obama Hopes So

So you want to go to college but can’t afford it. Perhaps you don’t want to take out loans that will take you decades to pay off. Or maybe you don’t think you’d get many (or any) scholarships or grants because your grades are just good enough but not that great, or because you make just enough money to not be considered in great financial need.
 
If the President has his way, none of this will matter.
 
In January in his State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined a $60 billion plan that would make community college free for everyone. And while ‘everyone’ doesn’t actually mean everyone, the plan still would open a lot of doors for students who may not otherwise be able to attend college.
 
What are the Criteria?
The criteria for tuition-free community college under the Obama plan are fairly straightforward. Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, which works out to a smattering of Bs and Cs – grades that are easily achieved by most students. Attendance must be at least half-time, which is typically considered to be six or more credit hours each semester. That’s just two classes per semester, which again, is easily achievable by most students, even those that work or have other obligations outside of school. In short, students that put in the effort would get a free education.
 
There is, however, a third criterion. Presumably to limit the long-term
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Heading off to college is a time filled with excitement about the future. Meeting new people, learning new things, and experiencing college life are all events that many college students look forward to. Yet, college is also an extremely stressful time. The cost of college attendance, increased academic demands, and concerns about dating, relationships, and friendships are all common factors that contribute to an increasing number of college students that report a mental health issue.
 
If you find yourself feeling down, anxious, or otherwise mentally unwell, you are definitely not alone. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that 44 percent of students that seek help at their college counseling center have a severe psychological issue. That’s up from just 10 percent in 2000!   Most mental health issues present themselves between the ages of 18-24 as well. 
 
The National Alliance of Mental Illness surveyed college students diagnosed with a mental health condition within the last five years, with 19% of the surveyed individuals being community colleges.  Depression and bipolar disorder constituted more than 50% of the respondents' diagnoses.  The results across the spectrum were:   
In this article, we review several common mental health problems that community college students face, as well as solutions to help you get back on a path to good mental health.
 
Depression
 
According to research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 27 percent
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Going to college represents a piece of the American dream. Students can expand their minds, learn new skills, meet new people, and enjoy intellectual, social, and cultural experiences they might otherwise not have a chance to experience. But it also represents an opportunity for students to improve themselves by preparing for post-collegiate employment.
 
The advantages of attending community college are numerous. You can graduate sooner, usually in just two years. The skills you acquire are often immediately applicable to the workplace, making you an attractive candidate for fast employment. There’s also the cost – community college is much less expensive than four-year institutions, meaning that more of the money you begin to earn goes into your pocket and not towards paying off student loans. 
Another advantage is that as the economy continues to grow, many of the most in-demand jobs are those that require only an associate’s degree. An added bonus is that a number of these jobs offer excellent income potential, with starting salaries for many of these in-demand occupations in the $40,000-$50,000 range.  Some jobs even offer the potential to earn a six-figure salary with just a community college degree
The trick is to find something that you are both passionate about and that will allow you to earn a comfortable living. Unfortunately, not everyone’s passion will be in a career area that is growing quickly, or that pays well. However, if you have an interest in a job in the medical field,
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Last week, President Obama introduced a plan to deliver free Community College tuition to all Americans across the country. Is it the right call?
 
In this story, we will not attempt to make a judgment call on whether free Community College is right or wrong for the United States. Instead, we paneled a few experts in education and economics to get their take on the issue. We’re showing both sides of the coin, and letting readers decide on their own.
 
The Case for Free Community College
 
Democratization of Higher Education
 
The biggest supporters of Obama’s plan laud the proposal as a right step in the right direction toward a more equal democracy. One such organization, University of the People, offers tuition-free degrees to many students who would have been shut out of the opportunity to attend college otherwise. Founder and President, Shai Reshef says, “According to the proposed plan, students could save an average of $3,800 a year. It is known that the average student spends as much as $1,200 each year on textbooks and supplies alone.”
 
Rasheen Carbin, Co-founder and CMO of career app nsphire, says Obama’s plan is the right step for America. “As we all know, the price of college has skyrocketed. We also know, having a Bachelor’s degree adds about a million dollars to your lifetime earnings.” Rasheen is adamant that free community college can lift a burden on lower-income families, and close the gap between poor and wealthy classes in the U.S.
 
“College is still a very elite
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In the face of many difficulties, which include massive budget cuts, low graduation rates, and students that need an abundance of guidance and support to stay on track, community colleges throughout the nation are finding ways to keep their doors open and graduate students on time. No school has been more successful in making the most out of a less-than-ideal situation than Rio Salado College.
 
Rio Salado is part of the Maricopa Community College District, a ten-campus system in Phoenix that offers over 10,000 courses for it’s 250,000 students on campus and online. It is one of the largest higher education institutions in the United States. Rio Salado accounts for roughly 60,000 of the system’s students, many of which attend part-time in order to accommodate work schedules and family needs due to economic disadvantages.
Students who come from poverty have the odds stacked against them with regard to graduation. The graduation rate for community college students in the United States is at most 40 percent, but that number falls drastically for poor and working-class students. According to the New York Times, only about one-quarter of college freshmen born into families in the bottom half of the income spectrum will go on to get an undergraduate degree within six years. Yet, 90 percent of students in the top one-quarter of the income spectrum will obtain their degree. Quite simply, socioeconomic status will greatly determine whether a student
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