Reality Check: America's college promise - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Reality Check: America's college promise

(PHOTO: FOX19 File) (PHOTO: FOX19 File)
FOX19 -

Five years from now, it's estimated that 35 percent of every job opening will require a bachelor's degree. Another 30 percent will require at least some college or a Associates Degree. A troubling prediction given that over the past two years community college enrollment has dropped 10 percent.

During Last night's state of the union, President Obama outlined his plan dubbed America's College Promise. The promise is designed to make Americans more competitive in tomorrow's job market, but it comes at a hefty price tag. Taxpayers will be on the hook for 60 billion dollars over 10 years. 

So is America's College Promise a good investment? Take a look at the average community college tuition rates in the Tri-State. Here in Ohio, it's just under $4,500, $4,100 in Indiana and close to $4,500 in Kentucky, all well below the average Pell Grant, which last year was $5,600 and is readily available now.

Another reason that 10 billion dollars might be better spent elsewhere is the less-than-stellar graduation rates at Tri-State community colleges

Indiana comes in at just over 24 percent, ranking 49th in the nation. Ohio's percentage isn't much better, the buckeye state ranks 45th in the nation, while the Bluegrass State has a 35 percent graduation rate.

It's true many students don't graduate from community college because they transfer to four-year schools, but according to a study funded by the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation only 13 percent of students who start at a community college have a bachelor's degree within five years.

“In an economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more,” Barack Obama said Tuesday night in the State of the Union. 

The President seems convinced that pumping 10 billion dollars into a free community college program is the best way to do so. The numbers say otherwise.

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