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President Obama Proposes Free Community College For Two Years

An estimated 9 million students could benefit from the program with each full-time student saving an average of $3,800 per year, the White House said.

Originally posted on
Updated on

President Obama will announce in Tennessee Friday his proposal for two years of tuition-free community college.

Obama's proposal is called the America's College Promise and will offer the first two years of college tuition free for students who meet a minimum GPA.

The White House said if all states participate, an estimated 9 million students could benefit from the program with each full-time student saving an average of $3,800 per year. Students will be required to be enrolled at least half-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA to be in the program.

States will have to choose to opt-in to the program. If they choose to participate, they will be required to either offer classes that transfer to local public four-year colleges and allow students to earn half of their credits needed to complete a four-year degree, or offer occupational training programs with high success rates that lead to useful degrees and certificates.

The federal government will pay for 75% of the two-year tuition, while states will be required to cover the remainder. No specifics were given about how much this will cost the federal government, but officials said it would be included in the budget.

The president also is proposing a related initiative called American Technical Training Fund that will teach technical skills to help people get better paying jobs. The programs may be offered through current community colleges or other training institutions.

The American Technical Training Fund is based off a program called Tennessee Tech Centers, which trains low-paid employees to do work in energy, IT, and advanced manufacturing, allowing them to move into a middle-class job.

Here's a preview of Obama's proposal:

House Speaker John Boehner's Press Secretary Cory Fritz told BuzzFeed News that without information on how much the proposal would cost, it was just a talking point.

"With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan," Cory Fritz said.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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