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.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig