Education President Obama

Free Community College

In case you missed it, President Obama has unveiled a joint federal and state proposal to fund 2-years of community college for students who maintain a certain GPA.

The requirements have been outlined at the White House website.

What students have to do: Students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program.

What community colleges have to do: Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that are either 1) academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities, or 2) occupational training programs with high graduation rates and lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Community colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes.

What the federal government has to do: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. Participating states will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the tuition for eligible students.

Obviously, the Republican Congress will not go along with this, however Democrats and the next Democratic presidential nominee can promote and campaign on this proposal, or an ever better one, over the next two years.

Two years of community college is enough to obtain a wide range of technical certificates and training that can greatly increase job prospects.

I don’t think I need to extol the benefits this could have for the poor and minorities who cannot afford to go to school on their own. And even beyond the obvious groups of people who could benefit from this program, others of modest means could also benefit.

  • muselet

    As ever, the devil is in the details, but this looks to be good politics and decent policy (not great, since our old friend Education Reform! is in the mix, but pretty good). Best of all are the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments guaranteed to come from the Right.


  • kathyseivers

    I just watched President Obama give this speech at Pellissippi State Community College here in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was accompanied by Vice-President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, the Republican governor of Tennessee, Senators Alexander and Corker, and other pols. Corker tweeted out during the speech that he didn’t believe the Federal Government should be in the business of paying for education, blah, blah, blah……I guess he just came along for the ride on Air Force One. For the record, Gov. Haslam has instituted this program here in Tennessee and it is going well.

  • captkurt

    How long do you think it will take for a GOP led administration in a red state to sue the federal government over the 1/4 contribution from the states, claiming it is an unconstitutional mandate?