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Free Community College?

TANNERSVILLE — News of the president’s proposal to provide free community college has created a buzz on college campuses throughout the country. Fre...
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TANNERSVILLE -- News of the president's proposal to provide free community college has created a buzz on college campuses throughout the country.

Free community college sounds almost too good to be true, but that's exactly what President Obama is proposing.

Students and administrators at the Monroe campus of Northampton Community College say it's an opportunity they're excited about, and one that could make all the difference for students.

Students are finalizing their spring semester enrollment at Northampton Community College's Monroe campus. Classes start Monday.

President Obama is now proposing all students at community colleges should get two years free tuition.

"I think it's been a long time coming, quite honestly. I think it's a good move on the president's part. I think it would do a number of things for the community colleges but also for our nation," said Northampton Community College Monroe campus dean Matt Connell.

The plan is called "America's College Promise" and would give free tuition to community college students who maintain a 2.5 GPA. Under the plan, 80 percent of the money would be federal dollars. The other 20 percent would be covered by individual states.

Angela Diaz-Martinez of Marshalls Creek is just starting college at age 40, trying to set a good example for her kids.

"I'm a little nervous. I've never gone to college before. This is a big, big step for me," said Diaz-Martinez.

She says her classes are costing her about $3,000 per semester.

"This would be huge, and huge to many people out there who want to do exactly what I am doing," said Diaz-Martinez.

The details of this community college proposal are supposed to be in the president's 2016 budget proposal, and folks at Northampton Community College hope this is an issue both Democrats and Republicans might be able to come together on.

"This proposal is good for all of us. This proposal positions the United States to be a world-class educational opportunity," said Connell.

Angela Knight of Tobyhanna is working toward her nursing degree. She says a program like this would let her focus more on her education and less on the financials.

"I'm paying out-of-pocket for my tuition fees and my books, so I'm actually working two jobs to pay my way through school," said Knight.

This proposal is only in the very beginning stages. Many against it say that it would cost taxpayers too much money and federal grants already help students with the most need attend college.