Obama to propose free community college today | Arkansas Blog

Friday, January 9, 2015

Obama to propose free community college today

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM

President Obama
is going to announce a plan today for free community college tuition.

The cost isn't known yet, but press accounts have put it between $34 and $70 billion a year. The Fox noise machine is already cranking about the price.

The early reports say the feds will pay 75 percent of the cost, leaving, you'd have to guess, 25 percent for the states.

Before the Republican naysayers stampede voters with false alarms about cost, some comeback:

In the great scheme of things, even $70 billion is a small amount in a huge budget, particularly given the potential payoff of a universally educated pool of workers. Much of the money may already be available in existing federal programs, such as Pell grants.

The state side? That's easy. The lottery revenue would likely be enough to meet all the demand in Arkansas. It's another thing to think about as Sen. Jimmy Hickey, the Texarkana Republican, pushes to reorder the lottery scholarship program to overwhelmingly benefit students from higher-income families attend four-year colleges.

Universal free college? You'd think that would have political appeal.

We'll see.

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