Proposal could make community college free for students

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 9, 2015) – In a few weeks President Barack Obama will send Congress a plan that would allow students to receive free tuition in the United States, if they attend a community college.

The president called his plan ambitious, but he expressed his hope that Congress would support it.

His plan is called America’s College Promise. It is based off of a plan currently being used in Tennessee. The president said he is building off of that program.

If it passes, America’s College Promise guarantees community college students two free years of college. Those students would have to follow a few rules. Students would be required to maintain a 2.5 GPA; they need to have a mentor, and they need to finish 8 community service hours per term.

Obama said he would like every American to have the same opportunity.

“We do expect that everyone gets an equal shot. We do expect everybody can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them,” Obama said.

Students, who are enrolling at Ivy Tech Community College, agreed this plan would allow them to save money.

“I think it’ll help a lot especially with maybe it’ll get more people involved again to (go to) college too instead of just thinking well I can’t afford it,” Angelica Walker said.

“If a state with republican leadership is doing this and a city with democratic leadership is doing this than how about we all do it,” Obama said.

In order for America’s College Promise to become a reality, it would require that ¾ of federal funding would pay for the cost of the program; states that participate in the program would be expected to fund the rest. On Friday, the president did not release any further details about how this will be paid for.

“There are different avenues the state can pursue. We’ll leave it up to the general assembly to discuss that, but really the game has changed,” Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas Snyder said.

Snyder said they have paid close attention to the Tennessee model.

“Ivy Tech is unique in its ability to launch a program like this as the only statewide community college in the country,” Snyder said.

Snyder said they can handle America’s College Promise, if it passes. It could mean their enrollment would increase. This could impact tens of thousands of Hoosiers.

“We think this is a game changer. This is a K-14 world in front of us. Indiana is in that race,” Snyder said.

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