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Thursday, January 08, 2015
President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed making community college free "for everybody who is willing to work for it."
Obama to propose two free years of community college for students
President Barack Obama on Friday will propose making two years of community college free for students.
In a White House video posted Thursday evening, Obama said he wanted to offer “a little preview” of his plans for the Jan. 20 State of the Union address.
“What I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it,” Obama said. “It’s something we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world.”
The proposal would make two years of community college free for students with a C+ average who attend school at least half-time and who are making “steady progress” toward their degree.
Obama will visit Pellissippi Community College in Tennessee on Friday. Beginning this year, any state high school graduate is eligible for two years of free community college tuition under the Tennessee Promise.
Federal funding would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college, and Obama is asking states to pick up the rest of the tab — assuming Congress agrees to the plan in the first place.
“I hope we’ve got the chance to make sure that Congress gets behind these kinds of efforts to make sure that even as we rebound and grow in 2015, that it benefits everybody and not just some,” the president said in the video.
To be eligible, community colleges would have to offer academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities or training programs with high graduation rates that lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Community colleges must also adopt “promising and evidence-based institutional reforms” to improve student outcomes.
If all 50 states participate, the proposal could benefit 9 million students each year and save students an average of $3,800 in tuition, the White House said.