The President thinks tuition at community colleges should be free for all eligible students. His plan is expensive and controversial, but it shines a much needed spotlight on community colleges.
Here is my video explaining why community colleges are so valuable to folks who think they can’t afford the high price of going to college. Please watch and then read more about the President’s plan.
The President’s plan aims to help make public community colleges more affordable to high school graduates so that they can ultimately get better paying jobs. Some students may start work after getting their AA degree, some may move on to 4-year colleges, and some may earn occupational certificates for specific lines of work.
Most education writers opine that this proposal has little chance of passing in the current political climate. But most everyone sees the need to raise the overall education level of the U.S. workforce.
So whether it’s this idea or another, we need to get cracking!
Here’s how the President’s plan lays out:
First and foremost, the feds will contribute three-forths of a student’s tuition. The State will contribute the other one-forth. States can decide whether to opt in or out of the plan.
The federal money would comprise what is known as the “first dollars” of the tuition contribution. This is important because other scholarships and grants can then be used for non-tuition educational expenses.
States that agree to opt in must bring their community colleges up to four-year college standards. Credits earned in a state’s two-year college should be seamlessly transferable to that state’s four-year universities.
Community colleges that have occupational certificate programs must offer courses for in-demand jobs and show good graduation rates.
Students must maintain a C+ average and attend at least half time. They need to show steady progress toward a degree or certificate.
I personally like the plan’s aim to expand community college capacity nationwide. With that goal accomplished, the for-profit colleges that so ill-serve American students will be banished to the dustbin of higher education history.
So, keep your eye on this proposal and others that will be sparked by the controversy surrounding it. College students and their families need a break!