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.