Tulsa Community College Program Mirrors President's Free Tuition Plan


Friday, January 9th 2015, 11:13 pm
By: News On 6


President Obama is proposing free tuition for students going to community colleges. This announcement comes seven years after Tulsa Community College started offering a similar program.

Former TCC student, Shawn Brame, took advantage of the Tulsa Achieves program and is now a senior at OSU. She said the program helped her pay for her higher education.

"I think a program like this would help, for me it helped. I knew, regardless, I was going to go to college, but for me it was a big deal to get two years for free and not have to worry about the debt from those two years," Brame said.

She's about to graduate from Oklahoma State University with a degree in elementary education; but before she went to Stillwater, she took free classes at Tulsa Community College through the Tulsa Achieves program.

Ahead of his State of the Union Address, Obama landed in Knoxville, Tennessee Friday morning to pitch his plan for free community college tuition.

The president's free tuition proposal comes with a price tag - $60 billion over ten years - to fund the program.

Obama says community colleges should be free for those willing to work for it.

“This isn't a blank check. It's not a free lunch. But for those willing to do the work, and for states and local communities that want to be a part of this, it can be a game-changer," he said.

Tulsa Community College administrators said Obama's free tuition plan works well because it reinforces the message that college is important.

Vice President of External Affairs, Lauren Brookey, said TCC offers 136 programs that transfer directly to other colleges and universities across Oklahoma.

"So there's a great opportunity in the state for someone who wants to build their higher education experience to start in Tulsa and transfer to some of our great universities in Oklahoma," Brookey said.

The Tulsa Achieves program required Brame to volunteer her time to charities and that the program got her to OSU debt free.

"Before I even came here I knew it was a good option, and then came here and it turned out to be a great experience," Brame said.

In order to be eligible for the Tulsa Achieves program you have to be a resident of Tulsa County.

The program is funded through property taxes.

Funding for Obama's National Free Tuition program is still in the works and Republican lawmakers are already weary about any more government spending.