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The State Of The Union And Americans 50+


How would you fare with President Obama’s State of the Union middle-class economics proposals to “turn the page” if you’re 50 or older? It depends. [...]

Provide two years of free community college tuition: You’d have to attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA and “make steady progress” toward completing your program. The “America’s College Promise” proposal to cut costs at what Barbara Vacarr, Director of the Encore Higher Education Initiative at, calls “the undersung workhorses” of higher education, would also require participation from the states to take effect.

This idea got raves from several career and college experts I consulted, especially for people 50 and older.

“The President’s free community college proposal is targeted squarely at working — often older — Americans who want to go back to school and retool skills, says Mark Huelsman, Senior Policy Analyst at the Demos think tank.

However, Huelsman says, the proposal “wouldn’t necessarily eliminate student debt for community college students — you have to pay for living expenses, books, transportation, computers and so forth.” But eliminating tuition “in some cases could mean an extra $5,000 in the pockets of older Americans who want to return to school; that could be the difference between attending and not attending,” he adds.