Sunday, July 21, 2024

Today: Obama to Unveil Proposal to Make Community College Tuition-free


Today, President Obama plans to unveil his proposal to make the first two years of community college tuition-free for “responsible students” nationwide, marking a critical point in efforts to expand accessibility to higher education for all. To be announced at greater length during the State of the Union Address, the plan, dubbed America’s College Promise, will benefit an estimated 9 million students annually.

According to Cecilia Muñoz, the White House’s domestic policy director, the goal of the program is to “make two years of college the norm, the way high school is the norm.” If enacted, community colleges would be expected to offer high-quality programs with credits transferrable to four-year institutions. To be eligible, students must attend at least half-time, maintain a base 2.5 grade-point average and show steady academic progress.

Still without a concrete cost estimate, the President’s ambitious plan will likely face heavy opposition from the new Republican Congress, whose goals of decreasing government spending do not necessarily align with the hike in federal expenses from the program’s implementation.  Still, the average savings for a full-time student at a two-year college under the program was estimated to be $3,800 a year.

Mike Krause, executive director of a similar pilot program in Tennessee, hopes to bank on “the catalyzing effect” that the promise of free tuition offers, highlighting that both his program and Obama’s proposed program are “extremely important” steps in modernizing the higher education system.

Washington Post