Without community college for free is it possible to be an important game changer in the eyes of Latino students?

The proposal of President Joe Biden that is expected to be scrapped, could be a powerful message to students

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Felicia Lozano, barista from Starbucks and full-time student at San Antonio College, still required need to "step it up" and have to make more time to cover community college tuition and living expenses this year.

Lozano is enrolled in American Sign Language interpreting, which is a three-year course at the school. She paid for the first two years of her studies with the savings of Social Security benefits after her father passed away when she was 16. But the money is beginning to run out, and she wanted to be employed full-time at Starbucks.

"It's really hard," she admitted about her job and attending school full-time. "It's really drained me completely."

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In the meantime, Lozano along with other Latino students are juggling banks and books The President Joe Biden's proposal to give 2 years of public college tuition and fees for free is set to be scrapped, NBC News has reported to lower the cost of his social spending program by $3.5 trillion down to $1.5 trillion, and to gain backing from all Democrats of the Senate.

Negotiators have debated over whether paying for tuition and fees goes enough. Students are often required to pay for other expenses, including transportation, rooms and board. Many have also wondered if this plan could be beneficial to students already receiving financial aid.

In spite of the outcome of the community college free of charge experts agree that increasing Latino education is essential for the nation to compete with an growing Latino workforce, and to address the racial and economic inequality.

In 2019 the number of Latinos who were 25 and over had an associate's degree or more in comparison to fifteen percent as of 2000 in accordance with the Education Data Initiative. Comparatively 56 percent of whites who were not Hispanic had degrees that were associate's or higher in comparison to 44 percent in 2000.

"A growing number of jobs in the future will require some form of postsecondary education, but the educational attainment gap between Latinos and Whites could lead to worsening workforce disparities, occupational segregation, and economic inequality," UnidosUS is an organization that is a Latino advocate group stated in a report released last year that focused on Latinos in higher education.

More than half Latino college students go to community colleges. They comprised 27 percent roughly 3.2 million from the 11.8 million students from all backgrounds who attended community colleges nationwide in the year 2019 as reported by the American Association of Community Colleges.

The number of students attending community colleges dropped by 12 percent in the last year, as a result of the coronavirus epidemic and a significant drop in students who are of color, according to the College Board.

Supporters of Biden's free college plan, which was announced by the presidency of Barack Obama in 2015, claim that the plan will change the way that Americans pay for college.

"Too many of the financial burden is upon families and the costs of college are always rising. Americans' College Plan promises zero dollars today and zero dollars in 10 years from today and zero dollars forever." declared Peter Granville, a senior policy analyst at The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank that is a champion of American Promise Promise Plan.

Isabella Guerrero, 18, is attending her very first academic year of San Antonio College. She wants to become an architect in the future. Her mother lives in the same house who has separated from the father she married. Child support payments ended when she reached the age of 18 years old, she explained.

While her mother had informed her that she'd "do all in her power" to aid her begin her college journey in a four-year institution or university Guerrero was aware that it would prove difficult due to her mother's low income.

Since she receives an aid package that includes financial support, Guerrero said, a free community college may not be beneficial if she could continue with some of her financial aid to purchase food or pay for other home expenses she explained.

A college scholarship program that was free would have helped her mother and she could have used the funds when she was learning to teach and studying nursing to help pay for the child's care for Guerrero.

"It probably would have helped her a lot, because even before I went to elementary school, she was a single mother and had to take me to her classes," she explained.

Image: Isabela Guerrero

Isabela Guerrero, 18, claims she is receiving financial aid to cover her two years at a community college, but she claims her mother would've benefited from a two-year free Community college. On the left is her best acquaintance Matthew Rivera, 21, who is also an undergraduate of San Antonio College.Suzanne Gamboa / NBC News

In the beginning of negotiations at the beginning of negotiations, the House was looking at a proposal which would cover the entire tuition and charges for two years for states that opt to be part of. States have a share of cost would rise five percentage points per year up to the fifth year, at which point the federal-state division would range from 20% to 80 percent. Students with no permanent legal status could be qualified.

Deborah Santiago, a co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, a Latino advocacy group for education and said the prospect of free college is a powerful message to students who are hesitant about going to college.

However, Santiago said, a free tuition and fee plan isn't the same as a "silver bullet" that guarantees Latino enrollment, but more crucially, its successful completion.

"Tuition isn't the main issue for the majority of Latino students who are low-income. The issue is child care, the transportation system," Santiago said, listing some of the costs which add up for students. "The costs of attending college exceeds tuition and fees. And in the event that free college does not include those costs, we may be putting our students at risk, instead of aiding them."

"It's what seals the deal'

Looking to improve the level of education and the ability of their workforce In order to boost the quality of education and competitiveness of its workforce, the Alamo Colleges District, made consisting from San Antonio College and four other community colleges located in the region, introduced AlamoPROMISE in the year 2019 following the officials went to Tennessee and Dallas that have similar local free college programs.

Over 50 percent of students enrolled in these schools within the Alamo district are eligible for financial aid.

AlamoPROMISE is referred to as a"last-dollar" programthat pays tuition and other fees that aren't covered through financial aid or scholarships.

Many students who receive all financial assistance through the Federal government may not be eligible for AlamoPROMISE assistance, however, this program covers the entire cost for middle-income and working-class families that do not receive full aid or qualify in Pell grants, according to Mike Flores, chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District.

Similar programs exist in 18 states in the United States, Granville said.

In the very first class supported by AlamoPROMISE the number participants were of color and were from schools where less than half went to college in any way, Flores said.

The students in the program comprise 64 percent Latino with eight percent African American and 4 percent Asian American, Flores said.

To urge San Antonio students to sign to the program and enroll in college The Alamo Colleges District held a virtual and in-person rally that encouraged the students to "save their seat" and promised them support from the community.

The program's organizers in both the Dallas as well as Tennessee programs had advised them that they had potential for parents to inform pupils that the cost of tuition will be paid.

"It's what seals the deal for students," Flores added.