In an effort to get America back on track as the leading country with the most educated workforce, President Obama has unveiled a proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students.
Under the America’s College Promise proposal, students will be able to earn the first half of their bachelor’s degree for free, and will be provided with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s workforce. The program will work in partnership with individual states, and if all states participate, an estimated 9 million students can benefit from the educational opportunity. A tuition-free education will also save community college students an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.
In addition to announcing the proposal of a tuition-free college education, the Obama administration has proposed a new American Technical Training Fund that will help expand innovative technical training programs in order to prepare Americans for better paying jobs.
Obama’s recent announcement of his latest initiatives are a continuation of his efforts to improve the educational opportunities offered to Americans. Since taking office, the president has added a $1,000 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award to help working and middle class families better afford the cost of a college education, he’s made available over $2 billion in grants to help connect community colleges with employers who will provide deserving students with quality jobs, and he created the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit that works to reform student loans and keep student debt manageable.
If the president’s proposal does go into effect, the United States certainly will not be the first country to offer free college tuition to its citizens. Today, countries such as Germany, Finland, Norway and many others offer not only free tuition to their own students, but also free tuition to international students who wish to pursue their studies abroad.