Forget about making education simply “affordable.”
President Barack Obama is planning to announce a program to make the first two years of community college free “for those willing to work for it,” as he revealed in a recent video message made while he was aboard Air Force One, which was posted to the White House’s Facebook page Thursday.
The president is expected to formally announce the plans on Friday at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn.
According to the White House, the proposed plan, for which more details are to come, will be in partnership with states and is inspired by programs in Tennessee and Chicago. The administration predicts that if all states participate, approximately 9 million students could benefit, saving a full-time community college student an average of $3,800 in yearly tuition.
“I think everybody understands [education] is the key to success for our kids in the 21st century,” the president said in his video message. “But what we also understand is that it’s not just for kids. We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits.”
The conditions for students to have their tuition eliminated include being enrolled at least half-time, maintaining a 2.5 GPA and making “steady progress toward completing their program.”
The budget needed to undertake the ambitious endeavor was not made immediately clear. However, the proposal is for federal funding to cover about 75 percent of the cost, while states pick up the remainder.
The only other question is whether the Republican-led Congress will agree to the proposal. The initial announcement drew criticism from House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Cory Fritz, who said in a statement, “With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan,” ABC News reported.
Read more at ABC News.