State Rep. Dennis Keene participated this week in a special White House conference call with select legislators from across the country and Dr. Jill Biden to learn more details regarding a new proposal to make two years of community college free for eligible students across America.
Under this proposal, students would be able to earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree, or earn technical skills needed in the workforce, at no cost to them, by attending a community college at least half-time, maintaining a 2.5 GPA, and making steady progress toward completing their program.
According to a White House news release, community colleges would be expected to offer programs that are either 1) academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities, or 2) occupational training programs with high graduation rates that lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Federal funding under the proposal would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. Participating states will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the tuition for eligible students.
“More and more, our growing global economy requires Kentuckians to acquire more skills and knowledge to compete,” Rep. Keene said. “By 2020, some 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree, and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree. We need to ensure our business and industries have the skilled workforce they need to prosper and grow. At the same time, we need to provide a way for the workers of the future to obtain an education without taking on a massive amount of student debt that can take decades to repay.”