ANKENY, Iowa — The news of President Obama’s potentially free tuition plan had the students, at Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny Campus buzzing.
“When I heard the news, I was really overjoyed because I was thinking about all the people that could benefit,” said Caela Price, student at DMACC.
Price is like many students who balance their education with a part time job. “My grades are pretty good right now but if I didn’t have to work as much I could spend even more time studying. I’d be able to give it (class work) my all.”
The president’s plan would call for free tuition for all students who attend a two-year community college.
Robert Denson, President of DMACC, is encouraged by the discussion but knows this is not the financial cure-all for his students. “Even if tuition is covered, you’ve got all the living expenses. You’ve got transportation, child care and cost of books. So there are other costs that factor in but if we could take the cost of tuition off the table for our students it would be phenomenal.”
Denson is aware that some may oppose the president’s plan but urges that the benefits outweigh the costs. “What everyone needs to remember is the end result is we are going to get skilled individuals into good jobs. If the economy thrives, tax revenues go up, income taxes are paid. I mean the net results are way above whatever costs this may have.”
About 9 million students would be eligible, and the average student would save $3,800 a year on tuition. The cost to attend DMACC for a full time student is roughly $4,100 a year.
One of the key points is students must maintain a 2.5 grade-point-average to be eligible.
Other details will come on Feb. 2nd, when the president proposes his budget.