At a speech tomorrow in Tennessee, President Obama will announce the most momentous higher education proposal of his presidency — free community college for every American.
Obama teased the proposal in an Air Force One video shot this evening, and the specifics have been released on the White House website. The plan is sweeping in its scope and ambition, and promises to transform debates over public higher education overnight.
Here are the details:
- Students would be eligible to attend community college for up to two years, completely tuition free.
- To preserve eligibility they would be required to maintain a 2.5 GPA and enroll on an at least half-time basis.
- The federal government would allocate three-fourths “of the average cost of community college” to states participating in the program. State and local funding would make up the remainder.
- Community colleges would be required to offer courses of study that were fully transferrable to local public four-year colleges or occupational training culminating in high graduation rates and meaningful degrees.
- Colleges would also have to “adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes.”
More on this later, or in the morning — I have to feed my kids dinner — but I have to say:
This is big. Really big.