President Obama has proposed that two years of community college be available free for all students. Under the plan students would have to attend community college at least on a half-time basis. Students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average and continue to make progress toward an associate’s degree or technical certificate.
Under the plan the federal government would issue grants covering three-fourths of all tuition costs with participating states paying the remaining one-quarter of a student’s tuition.
The White House estimates that the program would benefit nine million students annually and save them an average of $3,800 in tuition costs each year.
The White House did not specify where the funds would come from to finance the new program. With a GOP-controlled Congress, it undoubtedly will be very difficult for the President to establish a new massive public program.
While the new plan would seem to be highly beneficial to the educational prospects of African Americans, some Black leaders have expressed a fear that a free community college education will serve to drag down enrollments at four-year historically Black colleges and universities. Many of these schools are struggling financially. If large numbers of Black students opt for the free community college plan, enrollments at these four-year HBCUs might drop significantly.
Below is a video of President Obama discussing the plan.