On Friday, President Obama announced a plan to send some 9 million Americans to two years of community college for free.

The Huffington Post reports:

His plan, which is subject to approval by Congress and depends on the participation of state governments, would dedicate some $60 billion over the next decade to defray tuition and fees for anyone who attends school at least half-time, maintains a roughly C+ average, and is on track to complete their program or transfer to a four-year school. The federal government would kick in about 75 percent of the cost, while participating states would pick up the rest. For the neediest students, Pell grants would help pay for transportation, room and board, and other costs associated with attending college.

Student advocates said the plan could boost college enrollment, slow the growth of student debt, put dodgy for-profit colleges out of business, and force schools, state governments and local governments to dedicate more resources to helping students attain a college degree.

“Think about it: Students who started at community colleges during those two years, and then go on to a four-year institution — they essentially get the first half of their bachelor’s degree for free,” Obama told an audience at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. “People who enroll for skills training will graduate already ready to work, and they won’t have a pile of student debt.”

The proposal would require approval from the Republican-dominated Congress. Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, questioned the proposal, saying, “With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan.”

— Posted by Donald Kaufman.

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