While President Obama might mean well in his effort to provide “free” community college to all “responsible” students, in reality his plan if implemented, could do an awful lot more harm than good.

Judah Bellin of Fox News reports:

Obama’s free community college plan: Why it could hurt more than help

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President Obama’s plan, announced Friday, to make community college free for promising students, will be seen by some as a game-changer.

As the president noted in his speech, his proposal — “America’s College Promise” — is based on Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise program, which offers free tuition to students attending two years of community or technical college. While the president’s plan will certainly make community college accessible to many more students, it is also far from clear that such students will benefit.

Consider that, at present, graduation rates for students at community colleges are dismal: around 25 percent for students who do not transfer, the lowest 6-year completion rate in U.S. higher-education. (For the roughly one-fifth of community college enrollees who do eventually transfer to a four year college, the graduation rate, at 62 percent, is far better.)

Despite the president’s best intentions — absent serious reform — pressuring community colleges to improve outcomes, graduation rates have no reason to rise. And by directing more students to community colleges without demanding higher standards—students will become eligible for two free years of tuition if they maintain merely a 2.5 GPA, hardly stellar in this age of rampant grade inflation—the president’s plan might, perversely, worsen graduation rates.