POTUS Scoops State of Union: Community College Should Be Free For Two Years

column | Policy and Government

POTUS Scoops State of Union: Community College Should Be Free For Two Years

Jan 8, 2015

EVERYONE'S FAVORITE WORD--FREE: President Obama scooped his own Jan. 20 State of the Union address with a video today that proposes community college be free for two years "for anybody who's willing to work for it," meaning those attending school at least half time, maintaining at least a 2.5 GPA and on their way to completion.

Here's a link to the video.

Community colleges would have to offer programs that readily transfer to four-year universities or colleges--or, alternatively--offer occupational training programs that can lead to the sorts of degrees and certificates need to land a job. The schools also have to do their part to keep students on track to graduating, or as the government puts it, "adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes."

The feds would cover three-quarters of the bill; states that join the program would have chip in the rest. So far, there are no estimates on the total bill. The government is estimating that the move can help 9 million students save $3,800 in annual tuition payments.

Equally tantalizing: the administration's proposal for an American Technical Training Fund, aimed at spurring high-quality, accelerated training programs through employer partnerships that people can do on a part-time or full-time basis.

Convincing Congress to underwrite the costs of these programs, however, will be a challenge. Here's Politico's take on the political sniping ahead.

Obama will be talking more about education and his community college plan when he visits Tennessee on Friday.

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.

More from EdSurge

Get our email newsletterSign me up
Keep up to date with our email newsletterSign me up