“Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it,” the president said in his Facebook announcement.
Today President Obama proposed making community college free for all Americans. He presented the plan as a way to introduce more people to the middle class, which would in turn strengthen the U.S. economy. Congress has already presented the President with the question of how this program would be funded.
The $60 billion plan was announced during a speech in Tennessee, in where he described a quality education as a “right” for those that were willing to work for it. He also asked that Congress work with him to bring the cost of Community College down to zero.
Obama said, “I want to make it free.” He urged making community college just as universal as high school. “A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class,” Obama said.
The proposed plan would cover enough tuition, to assist students who keep their grades up an associate’s degree or halfway to a bachelor’s.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the plan is expected to cost the federal government $60 billion over 10 years. The White House said the federal government would pick up 75 percent of the cost and the final quarter would come from states that opt into the program — though it’s unclear where the money might come from.
Last year, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a scholarship program called Tennessee Promise that provides free community and technical college tuition for two years to the state’s high school graduates. About 58,000 of the state’s roughly 62,000 seniors have applied to participate this fall.
Under the president’s new plan, students would be required to maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and must make steady progress toward completing their program in order to have their tuition eliminated, according to the press release.