House Democrats Want to Make Community Colleges Free to Students

An employee at a money changer counts USD 100 bills in Manila on October 25, 2012. AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS
AFP PHOTO/NOEL CELIS

House Democrats have introduced a bill that would make community colleges free to students, according to a report from the Washington Post.

A new bill introduced by House Democrats would make community college degrees free for students. Sponsors for the bill claim that it would give students the chance to earn a degree without taking on debt. The bill was created in response to the Republican Higher Education Act — originally passed in 1965, the Higher Education Act ensures that the federal government will have a limited role in higher education. The bill was written to be renewed every five years.

“The Aim Higher Act is a serious and comprehensive proposal to give every student the opportunity to earn a debt-free degree or credential,” said Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), said in a comment about the act. “It provides immediate and long-term relief to students and parents struggling with the cost of college, it puts a greater focus on helping students graduate on time with a quality degree that leads to a rewarding career, and it cracks down on predatory for-profit colleges that peddle expensive, low-quality degrees at the expense of students and taxpayers.”

Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, argued that the House Democrat’s bill could impact millions of American families. “When you consider the amount of money and the number of people that participate in some way in the student aid program, this is the type of legislation that will affect millions of students and even more families,” Draeger said.

Some economists suggest that offering college degrees for free would lessen the value of such degrees to employers. Additionally, the influx of students interested in obtaining such degrees could potentially limit acceptance into such programs to students with top grades and scores.

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