On President Obama's Community College Proposal
I am very pleased that President Obama has reconfirmed his commitment to college affordability and completion by announcing the America’s College Promise Proposal. This plan would help waive tuition at community colleges, offering up to $3,800 toward tuition for hard-working students and allowing as many as 9 million Americans to graduate debt-free.
To bolster job training, the President’s proposal also recommends a new American Technical Training Fund to expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs that partner with employers to help prepare Americans for better paying jobs.
Community colleges are critical to ensuring that we have the well-prepared workforce we need to innovate and compete in the 21st-century global economy. These schools provide opportunities for many first-generation college students to pursue higher education and qualify them for jobs that require a college degree.
Providing funding for community colleges is also one of the best investments the federal government can make – the annual net economic benefit of community college programs is 5.4 percent of GDP, or roughly $800 billion in added income.
This plan builds on successful state models, and a major component of the proposal is a new funding partnership with state governments. Governor McCrory has publicly signaled his commitment to North Carolina’s community college system, and I hope he makes good on his assurances and works with the White House to implement the President’s proposal. Doing so would directly benefit students at the 5 community colleges that serve the Fourth District and the 59 campuses statewide.
For too long, colleges have turned away qualified students who cannot afford tuition. The President’s proposal will help open the door to higher education for the next generation of Americans. I look forward to hearing more details in his upcoming State of the Union address, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House on college affordability initiatives.