Readers React: Free isn’t the only college fix

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama speaking at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich. in 2009.

(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

To the editor: Citing statistics of low student retention, author Richard V. Reeves too quickly dismisses free community college as a viable initiative. (“Free college? It can’t fix everything,” Opinion, July 13)

As a current USC student born and raised in L.A., I have seen how much community college has benefited my peers.

Whereas many of my friends could not afford to pay the tuition at UCLA or USC for four years, by attending and excelling at Santa Monica College — where they could complete their general education requirements for much less — they earned scholarships from the four-year institutions they had dreamed of ultimately attending.

Perhaps we should focus on improving our community colleges.
Ben Hannani, Beverly Hills



To the editor: I was pleased to read that Kalamazoo’s free college tuition policy resulted in a sizable increase in graduation rates.

However, I was perplexed by the author’s hysterical conclusion that higher education is “bloated, self-serving” and in need of a “radical overhaul” because free tuition in and of itself has not eliminated the achievement gap.

I think most reasonable people would call the Kalamazoo results what they are: a good start.


Perhaps the next logical step would be to adequately fund community colleges and four-year state universities, whose budgets have been decimated over the last few decades, so that they might be able to better handle an influx of students who are not fully prepared for the rigors of a university curriculum.
Michael L. McLendon, South Pasadena


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