President Barack Obama's proposal
to make two-year community college free for students across the country has gotten the thumbs up from actor Tom Hanks.
In an opinion piece in The New York Times,
Hanks reflected on his time at Chabot College, a community college in California which he told his children "made me what I am today."
Hanks described how he applied to both M.I.T. and Villanova, knowing his grades and SAT scores would not qualify him and that, regardless, he couldn't afford to attend. Instead, he said, he applied to Chabot, which accepted everyone and was free.
Hanks celebrated that Chabot had programs in nearly every discipline, "all free but for the effort and the cost of used textbooks," and his classmates "included veterans back from Vietnam, women of every marital and maternal status returning to school, middle-aged men wanting to improve their employment prospects and paychecks."
He went on to describe a range of classes he enjoyed such as public speaking, oral interpretation, and film as art. He said, however, he hated health and nearly failed zoology.
"We could get our general education requirements out of the way at Chabot — credits we could transfer to a university — which made those two years an invaluable head start," he wrote.
After attending the college in the 1970s he moved on to graduate from the State University in Sacramento.
"President Obama hopes to make two years of free community college accessible for up to 9 million Americans. I'm guessing the new Congress will squawk at the $60 billion price tag, but I hope the idea sticks, because more veterans, from Iraq and Afghanistan this time, as well as another generation of mothers, single parents and workers who have been out of the job market, need lower obstacles between now and the next chapter of their lives.
"High school graduates without the finances for a higher education can postpone taking on big loans and maybe luck into the class that will redefine their life’s work. Many lives will be changed," he said.
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