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.
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.