The Benefits of Free Community College Education

The Benefits of Free Community College Education
  • Opening Intro -

    This past Feb., Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam proposed that his state provide free community college tuition for eligible residents.

    The proposal surprised not a few people, especially given that Haslam is a Republican, yet it was welcomed by many across the political spectrum.


Since Haslam’s announcement, his proposal has received scrutiny from within and outside of the state. Some competing institutions have objected to the measure, what likely would discourage a potential body of students from enrolling at those schools. Regardless whether the proposal becomes law in Tennessee or elsewhere, there are some compelling reasons why free community college education offers benefits including the following.

1. A better educated populace emerges. Students that find college unaffordable would be guaranteed a spot at community colleges in Tennessee. Those that complete a two-year degree will have advanced their learning well beyond what they absorbed while attending secondary school. This knowledge can help them compete better in a global job market and acquire skills that they otherwise would not have.

2. Students can transfer. Across the nation, community colleges have transfer agreements with four-year schools. Typically, the way that this works, is that a student with an associate degree would apply to a public or private university for acceptance. Once accepted, the student would start his or her junior year at that new school. They would then only pay for two years of college and would also be eligible for student aid including grants and scholarships to lower their costs.

3. Class sizes are manageable. For some students, higher education success is best achieved by attending colleges with smaller classes. Community colleges usually have class sizes of 25 to no more than 30 students, providing ample opportunity for students to interact with each other and with the instructor. For some students attending university means classrooms with several hundred students, what can hamper their education. Free tuition places vulnerable students in the best possible learning environment.

4. Students gain access to a variety of programs. Not all community college students need to attend school for two full years. Many colleges offer a variety of programs including those that lead to a certificate. For instance, the Welding Technology Program at Nash Community College can be completed in 44 hours, or less than the 60 or more hours required for an associate degree. The shorter schedule can benefit some students especially those that are ready to work as soon as they get their certificate or diploma.

5. Support services included. When students enroll at community colleges, they get much more than an education. They also receive support services that can help them succeed while attending college. Those services include tutoring, advising, career planning, counseling, study skills, job preparation and language assistance. Community college not only unlocks educational opportunities, but provides support services that can help people succeed. Those benefits can also keep some people from needing government assistance later on.

Community Colleges

Community colleges are two-year colleges and are also known as technical colleges and are sometimes called junior colleges. They’re state-supported educational institutions with most offering open enrollment to in-state residents. Tuition costs are the lowest among all post-secondary schools. Still, without aid some people would miss out on an opportunity to improve themselves.


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Categories: Academics