President Barack Obama?s proposal this week that community colleges across the nation offer free tuition for the first two years could be a significant boost for Black college enrollment.
According to a previous post on TNJ.com, in 2012, the percentage of Black students at two-year colleges, at 27 percent, was higher than at traditional four-year and private institutions, at 14 percent to 20 percent, in the first decade of the millennium.
?On behalf of the nation?s 1,132 community colleges, AACC applauds the efforts of this administration in tackling income inequality, college affordability, and academic attainment.? We are pleased about the president?s proposal to make the first two years of a community college education free to those students willing to work for it.? Community colleges perform a vital role of educating our citizenry with the skills for the jobs of today, and those of tomorrow.? AACC looks forward to working with President Obama and his administration to implement this bold plan,? Walter Bumphus, president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, told TNJ.com.
The NAACP agrees. Earlier today, NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks released the following statement: “The NAACP applauds President Obama on his proposal to establish a government program that makes community college tuition-free for millions of students for two years. This program would be a significant investment in expanding educational opportunities for millions of students across the country and for training a globally competitive workforce in the 21st century. We also are pleased that this program would provide job-training opportunities, creating additional pathways for more Americans to join the middle class. We urge Congress to work with President Obama in approving this plan and making equal opportunity a reality for all.?
As reported by the Washington Post, administration officials say that under the program, called America?s College Promise, an estimated 9?million students a year nationwide could benefit. The only stipulations are that students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average and attend classes at least part-time.
Simone Rodriguez-Dorestant, associate provost at the predominantly Black-attended Medgar Evers College, told TNJ.com, ?We believe this will be a great opportunity. The students will be able to enter the college and earn their college degrees. This will definitely help in the retention of our students as well as help to ensure that they are able to enter graduate school and their careers at a faster rate. So, we?re really hoping that we will become eligible for this.?
(For a related article on the costs associated with attending higher education, CLICK HERE.)