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President Biden proposes free tuition for community college students

The $1.8 trillion American Families Plan includes money to provide community college students two years of free tuition.

INDIANAPOLIS — President Joe Biden's $1.8 trillion American Families Plan includes money to provide community college students two years of free tuition.

It could have a significant impact on many of the 100,000 Hoosiers attending Ivy Tech Community College, including Mason Springman. He's working a job while he works towards a degree in advanced automation and robotics.

"It is stressful at times," said Springman. "It is a bit overwhelming."

Springman said getting free tuition "would be huge." 

"The president is on to something that is very important for a successful economy and for Hoosiers to have economic prosperity," said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann.

According to Ellspermann, about half of Ivy Tech students graduate ready to move into skilled higher-paying jobs.  

"It may be the welder. It may be the software engineer. It may be the cybersecurity professional," she said. 

Nearly half complete their educations at a four-year university. A large percentage of students already receive federal and state grants and pay no tuition. What would really help is if any new money came with new rules to help moderate income students who don't qualify for existing financial aid programs.  

"Many parents get caught in that," Ellspermann said. "They make too much to qualify, but they really can't afford to have two or three kids in college at the same time."

Student Anthony Woods sees free tuition as an investment. 

"An educated society is a better society for everyone," Woods said. 

Everyone will be watching what is bound to be a costly political battle over free educations.