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Boost for Community Colleges

April 5, 2011
Plain English Version

President Barack Obama wants to increase the amount of federal money going to community colleges. He would spend $12 billion over the next ten years.
The money is for:

  • $9 billion to increase student success
  • $2.5 billion for building and technology improvements
  • $500 million for online courses

The goal is to help 5 million more Americans earn degrees and certificates by 2020.
Obama said that jobs for people with associate degrees are fast growing. High schools and four-year colleges do not give that kind of training. Community colleges receive less funding than four-year colleges.
Community college graduates are doing well. In one study, students getting a Certificate increased earnings 15 percent. Getting an Associate Degree increased incomes by 11 percent.
About half of the Community college students do not graduate. The communication is poor between students and schools. The remedial programs can be boring. As many as six out of ten students are in remedial classes.
The Obama program calls for better remedial education. It wants to keep better track of students. It calls for innovation in online education. It links training programs with private employers.
Real reform will takes advantage of the community colleges. The colleges educate students with different goals and abilities. They host students with different learning styles.
Congress will soon start hearings on the proposed law. Money for the plan will come from the subsidized student loan program. The new legislation replaces that program with loans made by the federal Department of Education.

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