USC students react to Obama’s push for free community college

first_imgIn a statement that highlighted both the importance of education to the American economy and the crippling loan debt faced by many students in institutions of higher educationOfficially, the program is known as “America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-free Community College for Responsible Students.” The program calls for community colleges to boost their curriculums and graduation rates, and calls upon states to invest more of their money into education and job training programs. The program’s timely announcement comes in light of new statistics, cited by the White House, that reveal that by 2020, the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree education at minimum will comprise 35 percent of the job market.The new plan outlines some requirements for the students. Eligible students must remain on a graduation track with a half-time course load or higher and maintain their grades at a 2.5 GPA or above to be eligible for the program’s free tuition for the first two years of their community college education. In order to make students able to transfer their community college education to four-year institutions, the Promise Proposal also calls on community colleges to revamp programs that currently are not transferable. If this condition isn’t met, the administration expects community colleges to offer two-year programs that train students for an in-demand job in the workforce.Tom Placido, a junior studying economics, was not convinced of the program’s ability to retain quality students and invest in the existing community college network.“Obama’s community college plan will flood already overcrowded institutions with underprepared students who don’t have a financial stake in their own education,” he said. “Couple that with community colleges’ underwhelming graduation and hiring rates, add in a huge federal incentive for grade inflation, and you’ve got a great recipe for fiscal and educational disaster.”Alec White, a junior majoring in political science, disagreed. White emphasized the increasing importance of a college education in the work force.“It is much harder in today’s job market to be successful with a high school degree than with a college degree and it is getting harder each day,” he said. “There are large numbers of talented students who do not go to college or even community college because their families cannot afford it. I think it is a great step in the right direction to help make college more affordable and help students get a more fair shot with education.”In addition to expecting involvement from students and community colleges, the program relies on the willingness of states to join the program. If they choose to adopt the initiative, states will be expected to fund one quarter of the cost of providing the free tuition.The program is flexible with state contributions. States that pledge to invest in the quality of community colleges and/or student outreach programs wouldn’t necessarily be expected to invest in the tuition share. To supplement the program, the White House also announced the creation of the American Technical Training Fund, which would award grants to create programs within community colleges that help transition students into jobs.In announcing the program, the Obama administration cited evidence that documents the success of similar, smaller programs in states around the country.  When Tennessee introduced the program, for example, 90 percent of high school graduates applied, and the resulting programs produced Technology Training programs that placed 85 percent of graduates in jobs.The Promise Proposal’s effectiveness on a wider scale remains to be seen. It is the latest in a long line of similar efforts taken by the Obama administration to make college affordable, including increase funding for Pell Grants and easing the burden of student loans faced by former students.last_img read more

Confident Trojans play like there was no doubt

first_imgThe bounce is back.USC’s dancing and chest-thumping on the sideline may be nothing new for the fans or players. Yet each hop and step seemed more emphatic than the moves the Trojans made in their sluggish first four games of the year.Junior running back Joe McKnight bounces out of a tackle from a Cal defender in USC’s 30-3 win against Cal on Saturday. – Dieuwertje Kast | Daily TrojanAnd for a USC team that had not lived up to its own standard of play, Saturday’s 30-3 romp against Cal was a welcome demonstration of the Trojans’ confidence.The match at Memorial Stadium was an exhibition of swagger against reticence with USC embodying the side of certitude. And though the Trojans have never lacked self-assurance in their approach, the blowout in Berkeley was the first time this year that the team played like it knew the outcome was predestined.“We’ve known we were capable of that, but it’s been a long time coming,” USC coach Pete Carroll said.This was the USC that television pundits had promised fans – long touchdowns from the offense, turnovers from the defense and gutsy calls from the coaching staff. This time, it all started with the stars.As USC’s starting quarterback, Matt Barkley has had to be a leader by default. But on Saturday he showed how he’s taken on the team image – and vice versa.Barkley told reporters earlier in the week that he didn’t think Cal’s crowd would be a factor after enduring raucous Ohio State fans.The Cal student section took offense and distributed fliers with the quote, instructing fans to make Barkley eat his words. One of the sheets of paper even made it into the signal-caller’s helmet before the game.“I thought about trying to pump up the crowd when we were on offense, but I don’t think it would have worked,” Barkley said.Not that the USC offense needed much pumping up – 457 yards and 30 points was more than enough for a Trojans attack that still left plenty of points out on the field.Though the offensive output didn’t reach new heights, USC still showed the level it can reach when its coaching staff isn’t clipping its wings.“The way the offense is moving around is really starting to feel familiar to us, like the way we did it in the past,” Carroll said. “We’re doing it with confidence, but it’s just taken us a while.”With Barkley allowed to throw downfield and test an occasionally suspect Cal secondary, USC’s passing attack showed it can pick up yards in large chunks.“I think they’ve had that faith this whole time, but we’ve decided to open it up now. We’ll open it up whenever we need to,” Barkley said.The faith shown in the offense may not be enough for those still expecting the offense to produce as it did when Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush were around, but consider USC’s opponent on Saturday before filing a formal complaint.Despite entering the game with the Pac-10’s most productive offense, Cal coach Jeff Tedford looked like he was holding his breath on every play.Somewhere along the line Tedford forgot that he could actually give the ball to his most talented player instead of only using him as a decoy. Cal tailback Jahvid Best only touched the ball on 16 plays and disappeared for large stretches of the game.“It was frustrating,” Best said repeatedly while shaking his head.Even on their home field, the Bears were terrified to take chances. Down 20-0 in the waning seconds of the first half, Tedford elected to kick a field goal on 2nd-and-10. Fans booed the decision as the kicking unit trotted out to the field and weren’t too thrilled when they saw the field goal sail wide right.By the second half, the team looked as deflated as its cheering sections did. Instead of running out onto the field for the third quarter, Cal players looked like they were filing out of an office building during a fire drill.“When you get on them early, it’s tough for the crowd to stay in it,” wide receiver Damian Williams said. “They just get demoralized.”Given Cal’s shakiness, it’s hard to tell what the Trojans take away from the win. The Golden Bears were once been mentioned as a Rose Bowl contender, but at this point they might settle for a bowl sponsored by a manufacturer of men’s grooming and fragrance products – I’m looking at you, Brut Sun Bowl.Regardless of the opponent, USC showed how difficult of a team it is to beat when it’s not stumbling over its own feet with penalties and turnovers. And if the other team gives them an opening, the Trojans are that much harder to take down.“I think we showed tonight why we’re one of the best teams in the country,” Williams said.USC still has plenty to improve upon – third-down conversions still aren’t optimal and three drives inside the 10 only resulted in field goals. But with a bye week on the horizon, the team will get a good look at its flaws.And if Saturday was any indication, the Trojans should have enough hop in them to bounce back from those mistakes, too.“Tackling Dummy” runs Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Michael at middlehu@usc.edu.last_img read more

The Chosen One: Upcoming professional championships up for grabs

first_imgVegas built a team based on all-around decent players who were underrated or didn’t quite fit in with their past clubs. Collectively, those players created a formidable contender. Thomas has only one major win under his belt: the 2017 PGA Championship. He had historically good — not great —  outings at all majors, but he has seen steady improvement in the standings each year. At the end of the day, however, I think LeBron and his crew will overcome those obstacles and prove they are the best team in the league come June. This year, the Golden Knights are once again sitting atop the Pacific Division thanks to their offensive firepower from players like wingers Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, and they are currently on a six-game win streak. Thomas is coming off a phenomenal season, during which he placed third in the FedEx Cup standings. At 26 years old, Thomas is nearing the prime of his career, so I expect him to have another big season on tour in 2020.  The Masters: Justin Thomas  With Tiger Woods playing inconsistently and Brooks Koepka returning from injury, I think Thomas has a prime opportunity to steal the Masters early in the PGA season. On paper, the Lakers have everything they need to win a title. They have superstars, shooters, hustlers, rebounders and defensive stoppers. But in reality, it seems like the team has relied a little too much on star duo.  We’ve already seen major sporting events in 2020 like the College Football Playoff and the Super Bowl, but aside from football, we still have a year full of championships to win in every sport, at every level. This week, I will make my predictions for the winners of the most high-profile remaining American sporting events this year — except for the upcoming March Madness, which I’ll dive into deeper in a couple of weeks. However, the Braves will have no easy path to the World Series, as a number of other prominent teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees will be hungry for titles of their own. It’s going to take a complete and flawless postseason with minimal injuries, but I think the Braves have what it takes to win it all this October. From a pitching standpoint, the Braves are once again stacked with a deep and trustworthy rotation, including Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels, and even bolstered their bullpen to give them depth at all positions. NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers  The Lakers have been Finals contenders since the day they acquired Anthony Davis, and so far, the Lake Show has lived up to the hype. With the second-best record in the league, the Lakers have looked formidable thanks to the duo of Davis and LeBron James, both of whom have put up highly impressive stats this season. The one major area of concern will be L.A.’s role players: The Lakers need players like guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Danny Green and forward JaVale McGee to play at an extremely high level to provide the necessary support for Davis and James. Founded just a couple of seasons ago, the Golden Knights have quickly emerged as one of the NHL’s most exciting teams. The Golden Knights started out their first season with a bang by making it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Last year, they had another solid season where they made the playoffs but were quickly eliminated by the San Jose Sharks. World Series: Atlanta Braves  One key player that has contributed to the Braves’ resurgence has been young outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who has put up massive numbers in his two MLB seasons. He and first baseman Freddie Freeman’s firepower should spearhead another deadly Braves offense this year.  In addition, the Lakers will have to deal with other stacked rosters like the hometown rival Los Angeles Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as well as the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the NBA’s best record. The Braves suffered through the rebuilding process for several years, but recently, the team has taken major strides. Last season, the Braves finished first in the National League East in front of the eventual World Series winners, the Washington Nationals, but they made a quick playoff exit after losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series. Thomas is currently first in the FedEx Cup standings, first in top-10 finishes and fourth in scoring average. Stats like these allude to my prediction that this is the year Thomas takes his game to the next level and finally pulls out another major win. Defensively, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been outstanding. Other than him, however, stopping the puck has been an area of concern for the team. The Golden Knights might not have the most stacked team on paper compared to teams like the Boston Bruins or the Washington Capitals, but they will have to find ways to overcome those giants in the playoffs, and I believe they will. Stanley Cup: Vegas Golden Knights Harrison Cho is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “The Chosen One,” runs every other Thursday.last_img read more