Tom Hanks: 'Community college made me what I am'

tom hanks
Tom Hanks, pictured with his wife Rita Wilson, applauded President Obama's plan for free community college.

Tom Hanks applauded President Obama's plan to provide free community college for millions of Americans, noting that his own two-year stint "made me what I am today."

In an op-ed piece in The New York Times called "I Owe It All to Community College," he explained how he was able to attend Chabot College in Hayward, Calif., for free (except for the cost of used text books) during the 1970s. This allowed him to continue to higher education at State University in nearby Sacramento for the "just barely affordable" price of $95.

Hanks credits his free access to community college for giving him the leg up he needed to launch his theater career, which eventually lead to movie stardom, multiple Oscars a career as a television and movie producer. Hanks has a net worth of $350 million, according to

Related: Obama unveils plan for free community college

At Chabot, he said, he studied alongside "veterans back from Vietnam, women of every marital and maternal status returning to school, middle-aged men wanting to improve their employment prospects and paychecks."

Obama announced earlier this month that he wanted to provide two years of free community college "for those willing to work for it." But Hanks is worried about potential Congressional conflict over the $60 billion price tag that the White House revealed a few days after the initial announcement.

Related: The GI Bill is back, helping thousands of vets

"I'm guessing the new Congress will squawk at the $60 billion price tag, but I hope the idea sticks, because more veterans, from Iraq and Afghanistan this time, as well as another generation of mothers, single parents and workers who have been out of the job market, need lower obstacles between now and the next chapter of their lives," he wrote.

Hanks ended the piece by reminiscing about how he drove past Chabot a few years ago with one of his kids and said, "That place made me what I am today."

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