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  • Update on free community college proposal
  • Posted By:
  • Kathy H
  • Posted On:
  • 26-Sep-2015
  • President Obama has been stepping up his efforts to make community colleges free for students across the country. According to the White House, free tuition message will be spread by those who are interested.

    A coalition of community college leaders, foundations, politicians, educators and businesses will soon be formed to make people aware of the free tuition two-year college current models. These plans were unveiled at his Michigan Macomb Community College speech recently.

    This coalition will be called the College Promise Advisory Board and will operate independently. Former education undersecretary Martha Kanter who is also a professor at the New York University will lead this coalition along with former Governor of Wyoming Jim Geringer according to reports.

    Kanter opined that community colleges will be helped to understand the worth of investing in people who want higher education. Towards this goal, the board will extend its expertise as even beyond high school, people desperately need higher education. In today’s society and economy, Kanter said, a high school diploma is certainly not enough.

    Statistics released by the White House on free community college progress shows that by the year 2020, an associate or college degree will be imperative for at least 30% jobs and a bachelor’s degree will become a must for an estimated 35% jobs.

    As announced in February, White House and the President have been striving to take the America’s College Promise program forward. The Tenessee Promise is an already existing program that offers two years of free college. President’s plan is based on the model of this last dollar state wide program.

    Last dollar programs are designed to cover the glaring gap between tuition and financial aid package of students. The inaugural Tennessee Promise class commenced this fall. Free two year college programs have already been created by five communities in the last six months. This includes the Minnesota and Oregon state wide programs.

    Obama’s plan is being backed by Congressional Democrats who voiced their support for free community college legislation. According to Geringer, both communities and youths benefit from the opportunity to achieve technical training and a higher degree which was the reason why community colleges were established in the first place.

    Education matters beyond high school, which is an ideal affirmed by the College Promise program. Rekindling the community spirit, this program will factor in naturally inspired local support and local initiatives.

    The Heads Up America campaign will further help spread awareness stressing the importance of community colleges. The ideal of offering two years free community college will be encouraged through public service announcements as a part of this campaign.

    The advisory board will function for a minimum of three years the focus on which will be mainly to identify ways to pay for the free community college, according to Gail Mellow, President of the LaGuardia Community College who is also an advisory board member.

    She also said that since this program is a radical idea, it will take time to solve these issues as a lot has to go into identifying who and how the benefits will be provided for. This long term issue cannot be solved in a years’ time, she said.


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