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Obama to propose free community college program

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(Photo: CNN)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says in a videotaped message that he wants to make community college free “for everybody who is willing to work for it.”

Obama says in the video posted on Facebook that he will announce his plan to make community college accessible to anyone during a stop Friday in Tennessee.


He’s proposing to make the first two years of community college free.

“Everyone understands that education is the key to success for our kids in the 21st century, but what we also understand is that it’s not just for kids. We also have to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages and better benefits,” the president said.

But it would require both the federal government and the states to split the tab. States would have the option to participate.

It would also require legislation, which could be tough now that Republicans control both the House and Senate.

If every state participated, the proposal could help 9 million students and save those enrolled full-time an average of $3,800 a year, according to the White House.

The program will be modeled after one in Tennessee, in which the state covers the cost of community college tuition for students that’s not already covered for them by grants and scholarships. It also requires the student to have a mentor, perform 8 hours of community service per term, as well as maintain a 2.0 GPA.

The president made the announcement from Air Force One as he continues a three-state tour that’s previewing some highlights of his State of the Union Address.

More details about the president’s education proposal will be announced on Friday when he visits Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville.


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    • Neil

      If your math is right (which I checked, and it is), then those nine million people would SAVE $34,200,000,000,000/year collectively, as opposed to COSTING $34,200,000,000,000/year. I can see how this single-sentence paragraph is confusing, as it would also suggest that it will HELP 9 million students AND save those enrolled full-time that amount of money… This would suggest that getting an education after High School will be easier for 9 mil people while saving people already enrolled some cash. At any rate, if this comes true, then perhaps you could benefit from a 90’s level remedial reading comprehension class. Everybody wins.

      • David

        My reading comprehension is fine. The money saved by the students would be tuition costs (money that the college collects from students in exchange for their attending classes). So, now that the college is not collecting tuition, they need to make up that money from somewhere, most likely state funding.

  • Morris Ryan

    Free to him maybe like his expensive Hawaii vacations, but not free for the tax-payers unless the teachers volunteer to teach for free.

  • Dan Neuman

    Free to who? The tax payers, once again, are on the hook for the so called free thing. There is nothing free, someone has to pay. It’s not a right to attend collage! I worked my way through collage. why can’t these lazy kids today do the same. Tax payer already paid for their K thru 12 education. The rest of their education should be on them!!!

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