Speaking to students at the Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, President Obama was quizzed about the value of his budget’s plan to start offering free community college.
“If community college does become free, do you feel as if the value of having an associate degree will begin to drop?” one student asked.
“Absolutely not,” Obama, appearing puzzled with the idea. “I have been asked this question before, and I do not know where it is coming from.”
Obama pointed out that many employers were hungry for qualified students with skills.
“Don’t think paying more is better,” he said. “Paying less is better.”
Obama was careful to explain, however, that a student would have to maintain a 2.5 average GPA in order to stay in the free college program – if it passes in Congress.
“There is no such thing as a completely free lunch,” he joked, and added:
“The point is, this is not – you get two years of free goofing off,” he warned. “This is to help you achieve your goals.”
He also disagreed with the idea that somehow free community college would change the level of interest in four year universities.
“I think a lot of folks are going to still use the traditional pathway of going to a four-year university,” he said. “If that’s your best option, God bless you, that’s great.”