President Obama announces plan for free college - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

President Obama announces plan for free college

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It was a calm day in the enrollment center of Angelina College, but it could be a very different scene if President Barack Obama's new plan for students goes through. 

"The concept is simple," Obama explained in a recent Tennessee press conference. "America's college promise will make two years free to responsible students who are willing to work for it."

Dr. Larry Phillips, tpresident of Angelina College, agreed that the concept looks good on paper, but he remains cautiously optimistic.

"What a lot of people don't realize is community college education, particularly at Angelina is almost free now," says Phillips. "Last fall, almost 60 percent of our students did not pay any tuition."

For the remaining 40 percent of students, tuition varies and that is where Phillips' has concerns. 

"How will they handle the in-district and out of district tuition, which is different at community colleges depending on whether you live in the county or not?" Phillips asked. "So there are a lot of unsorted questions that will have to be sorted through."

If Obama's plan becomes a reality, Stephen F. Austin State University's Academic Provost, Dr. Richard Berry, expects it to have a positive effect on incoming transfer students. 

"Whatever that can be done to help students get a post-secondary education, we're in favor of," Berry said.

Berry has personal ties to the community college system and has seen its benefits first hand.

"We are a little bit unique here in that the president and provost here at Stephen F. Austin are products of community college, themselves," admits Berry.

The president plans to announce a more detailed description of his plan duirng his annual State of the Union address, on January 20th.

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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