Free Community college program

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Free Community college program

Obama Proposes Free Community College Program - ABC News

The White House on Thursday announced a proposal that President Barack Obama said would make community college "free for everybody who is willing to work for it." But administration officials provided no details about the program's costs or where the money would come to pay for it.

Obama planned to formally announce the plan Friday at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. He gave a preview in a videotaped message shot aboard Air Force One and posted on Facebook.

"It's not just for kids," Obama said. "We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits."

Obama provided few specifics, and White House and Education Department officials on a conference call with reporters Thursday evening said the funding details would come out later with the president's budget.

The White House did say that if all states participated, that nine million students could benefit ? saving on average $3,800 in tuition per year for a full-time student. That means the program could cost in the billions of dollars. In a Republican-led Congress, the proposal likely faces a tough legislative fight to be passed.

"With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan," said Cory Fritz, press secretary for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Under the proposal, participating students would be expected to maintain a modest grade point average and participating schools would have to meet certain academic requirements. States would opt in to the program and put up a fraction of the funding.

"Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it," the president said.

David Baime, vice president for government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges, called the plan an "extraordinary" investment. He said the essence of the proposal is to reduce the cost of attending community college and "that is a concept that we heartily endorse."

Last year, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a scholarship program using lottery funding that provides free community and technical college tuition for two years to the state's high school graduates.

The scholarship program faced opposition in Tennessee from some of the state's private colleges and legislators concerned that the program could potentially divert students and scholarship dollars from four-year schools. Haslam has said the program will increase the pool of students going to college.

The White House said its proposal was inspired by the Tennessee plan and another similar program in Chicago.

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What do you think? Good or bad plan?

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The lottery scholarship has been around for a few years now here. At first I was doubtful, but I think it has been a benefit. Before, it was tied to grades, now I think that anyone can get it. There are a lot of people here that college is not on their radar. Just graduating from HS is a big accomplishment. This is a big difference from where I grew up in NY where college is highly encouraged. I think it has done a lot to encourage first generation college students. Here it is paid for by the TN Lottery. I am not sure how a federal program would be paid for. I would not be in favor of going further in to debt to pay for such a program, so I would have to hear how it was going to be paid for, but I think this is a more worthy use of funds than a lot of currant programs. There was a similar program where I grew up in NY. Almost anyone could go to the community college for free or next to nothing as long as you had ok grades. I am not sure how that was paid for or if it was just connected to that community college.

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This sounds awesome! Our CC are $46/unit so not all that much. There are also fee waivers and grants so for those who really don't have the money it's available.

IME those who aren't going CC use the excuse that they don't have the money but really just have different priorities. (My ex used the excuse that he didn't have the money to go to college in spite of the fact that he had just gotten out of the military after his 4-year enlistment.)

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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

This sounds awesome! Our CC are $46/unit so not all that much. There are also fee waivers and grants so for those who really don't have the money it's available.

IME those who aren't going CC use the excuse that they don't have the money but really just have different priorities. (My ex used the excuse that he didn't have the money to go to college in spite of the fact that he had just gotten out of the military after his 4-year enlistment.)

I obviously do not know of all colleges everywhere, but of the places I am familiar with, Community Colleges have lots of programs to make sure most everyone can go. My SIL was able to go to a Community College for free for the first two years of college, then transfer to a State College for her BS and Masters.

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WTVC NewsChannel 9 :: News - Top Stories - In Knoxville, President Obama Proposes Publicly-Funded Community College for All

A local story if you are interested.

I do worry about how the program will be paid for. Here, it is covered by the lottery. If there was a way for the program to be paid for, I think it would be great, but I am not sure that there is a good way to pay for it.