President Obama today (Jan. 8) announced a proposal to offer the first two years of community college free to “anyone who’s willing to work for it.” Sounds good in theory, but not everyone is convinced that it’s a great idea.
Obama planned to formally announce the plan Friday at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. He gave a preview in a videotaped message shot aboard Air Force One and posted on Facebook.
“It’s not just for kids,” Obama said. “We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits.”
Obama provided few specifics, and White House and Education Department officials on a conference call with reporters Thursday evening said the funding details would come out later with the president’s budget.
The White House did say that if all states participated, that nine million students could benefit — saving on average $3,800 in tuition per year for a full-time student. That means the program could cost in the billions of dollars. In a Republican-led Congress, the proposal likely faces a tough legislative fight to be passed.
“Free Community College” was trending on Twitter and Facebook tonight, which shows that the possibility of affordable education in the U.S. is a conversation long overdue.
See the president’s announcement, and read some of the reactions in the gallery.