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Oct 18, 2016 11:48 AM EDT

8 Major Questions About 'Free Community College' Answered: How Does It Impact The 4-Year Institutions?

Rob Jenkins of the Chronicle of Higher Education answers 8 major questions about 'Free Community College'
In line with some U.S. government sectors’ tying both ends of the rope over realizing its ambitious project of launching a two-year free education program, some academics give out their individual stands on the matter. Of all this slew of staunch academic figures, Rob Jenkins is the most prominent.
(Photo : Joe Raedle/ Getty)

Rob Jenkins of the Chronicle of Higher Education answers 8 major questions about "free community college" and its authenticity with rhetoric answers and even bigger questions. One of the featured questions goes, "How does it impact the 4-year institutions"?

In line with some U.S. government sectors' tying both ends of the rope over realizing its ambitious project of launching a two-year free education program, some academics give out their individual stands on the matter. Of all this slew of staunch academic figures, Rob Jenkins is the most prominent.

The truth is that as much as there are minuses to the "free community college" plan by HE sectors, there are also undeniable benefits. While it's too early to judge, such that some proposals are yet to be approved after being tried at a few states like Oregon and Tennessee, it would be best to address 8 significant questions that would certainly define its outcome, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

Here are the questions Rob Jenkins tackled in his article:

1. What qualifies a "community college"?

2. How will it affect 4-year institutions?

3. Is it just a gimmick?

4. Who would qualify?

5. Will it be adequately funded?

6. Will students value it?

7. Will the education itself have value?

8. How will we define success- and, at what cost?

Here are the corresponding answers:

1. Community colleges include colleges that shorten the supposed 4-year degree course to 2-year courses. Most of the courses offered herein are technical and vocational courses. Nonetheless, the definition of a "community college" eventually depends on a community's immediate need. There is a need to contextualize it before concluding the range of its free offers.

2. It affects 4-year institutions by impressing an unsupported lure to students, as per relevance to its jam-packed 2-year course. This should not always be the redeeming case. Once and for all, if the situation requires student to take either a 2-year of a four-year course, then the student should choose with the utmost wisdom and maturity and not be lured by the promise of a free 2-year academic course.

3. It may end up as a gimmick as it merely focuses in turning heads to its free education slogan, with the "free education offer" long given as due benefit. Perhaps, it too could stand as a serious move of the government to veer low-income students away from state universities.

4. More questions follow- will it only be available for the ones included in the lowest-income brackets or will it also include the middle class? How will the middle be defined in the context of education then?

5. "Will free community college suffer the same fate? Will it initially cover everyone, until the money starts to run out, after which only certain students will qualify? At that point, how will we decide who gets to go to community college free and who doesn't?", Jenkins stated in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

6. Having to pay for the education will increase the chance that students value it.

7. Education may end up having a very poor record when it comes to free offerings being taken abusively by failing students. First off, the number of times a failing student can retake a course shall have to be defined.

8. There is no definite answer. We have to think and feel unhurriedly. All along, free education isn't always a good idea.

Under the surface of all these inquiries and reflections, the Tennessee Promise boldly waves its flags as it sets off with its "Drive to 55' under the leadership of Gov. Bill Haslam, Johnson City Press reported.

© 2016 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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