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Free community college could affect Ohio State admissions

With the possibility of community college becoming free to students in the future, it is still unclear what the impact would be on 4-year universities like OSU. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

With the possibility of community college becoming free to students in the future, it is still unclear what the impact would be on 4-year universities like OSU. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

President Barack Obama proposed the concept of allowing free community college for two years in his State of the Union address back in January, but the possible impact it might have on four-year universities like Ohio State is still up in the air.

“By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need,” Obama said in his speech. “It’s not fair to them and it’s sure not smart for our future. That’s why I’m sending to Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college, to zero.”

Despite the president’s goals for his plan, free community college is just a proposal, so it is hard to tell what kind of effect it will have on universities like OSU, said Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment planning.

“What’s proposed now and what’s approved later, we’re not sure exactly how it’s all going to play out,” Evanovich said. “But if it is approved, we expect that we’ll probably see more students that will go to a community college, if it is in fact approved to be free, and then potentially transfer here.”

OSU already has a program in place to help students transition from community college at Columbus State. The Preferred Pathway program is a partnership OSU has with Columbus State that allows students to “pre-major” at Columbus State for the degree they plan to get at OSU.

“Columbus State is our biggest feeder community college. Far and away, it is our biggest partner,” Evanovich said. “They do a great job with preparing students their first two years.”

The Preferred Pathway program is where OSU would start if the proposal was passed, Evanovich said. OSU could expand that model to other community colleges like Lorain County Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and Sinclair Community College, he added.

Helping transfer students be successful is sometimes a challenge because they’ve already gone through an orientation and don’t think they need to go through it again, Evanovich said.

“Having a support program for students that transferred is really important to help them start off on the right track and be successful at Ohio State,” Evanovich said.

Meagan Yanczura, a third-year in communication, said being able to receive two years of community college for free would have affected the college she attended.

“I probably would have gone somewhere like Columbus State. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I transferred to Ohio State (from the University of Cincinnati), so if I could have gotten some general education requirements taken care of for free, it would have been really beneficial,” Yanczura said.

Yanczura said she thinks two free years of community college would help students organize their thoughts before embarking on a set educational path.

“I feel like a lot of people are in the same boat and it would helpful for people to figure out what they want to do,” she said.


  1. “Free” ? Yeah, like free cell phones for Obama supporters and free healthcare for some while taxpayers have their premium skyrocket. Or now Obama wants to give tax refunds to illegals up to $24,000. Everytime you say free this and that, taxpayers or future generations have to pay for it in taxes or debt. How about lowering Ohio States executive salaries. They really need to adjust expenses not burden tax payers again. But most of the give me free crowd are liberals

  2. June in the comments need to check the facts, it’s the Republicans who want to put everything on a credit card and give tax breaks to corporations while raising taxes on the middle class. When have you evern herd the words “help the middle class” from a Republican.
    Read the book, “What’s The Matter with Kansas” by Thomas Frank. Republicans want Americans to fight each other with name calling and class warfare instead of looking at the resutlts of their policies.

  3. There is no such thing as “free”. Someone has to pay, and the blunt of it will fall on us middle class tax payers. I’ve been saving to pay for my kids to go to college, not really in the mood to pay for someone else kids also. His original plan would have stolen from those of us saving in 529 plans by taxing them, at least he’s given up on that bad idea…

  4. Jnue – can you please give us a link to where it has been reported that Obama is giving illegal immigrants a $24K tax refund, unless of course it’s on a Fox website…………………

  5. Maybe if young college age adults spent a little less on tatooing themselves, they might have more money to spend on their education.

  6. Nothing is free. Who pays for it?

  7. Thomas Frank is providing his own biased and liberal perspective in accordance with his own distorted and misconstrued assertions. It is not evident as to how reading “Whats the matter with Kansas” could possibly provide a factual account of either the belief or motives of republicans. It is best to read nonpartisan peer-reviewed articles rather than yellow journalism.

  8. Typical self-centered American thinking. “I ain’t paying for nothing unless it benefits me directly” and I am sure the people who think this way consider themselves Christians. The money saved in crime and poverty in the long run (not to mention the money generated by more people having higher paying jobs) will be far less than the cost of paying for community college.

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