The President recently released a proposal to expand federal funding for community colleges by 60 percent over the next 10 years:
And on July 14, Obama unveiled the American Graduation Initiative, a 10-year, $12 billion plan that mirrors much of the Brookings report in calling for a significant increase in investment in community colleges. [...]
Of the $12 billion Obama hopes to direct to community colleges, $9 billion would go toward a pair of new grant programs that challenge schools both to find innovative ways to connect student learning to real-world job options and to develop new methods for helping more students complete degree programs. These grants are to be tied to a yet-to-be-determined performance measurement system, which will require colleges to track and report results.
Community colleges play a vital role in bringing higher education to students who cannot afford or do not feel prepared for a four year college. Tulsa, in particular, benefits from the excellent and well-equipped Tulsa Community College. Because our city lacks a public, four-year university, TCC fills an important gap by serving students pursuing a (two-year) Associates degree as well as those who plan to complete a Bachelors degree (both OSU-Tulsa and OU-Tulsa allow TCC transfers to complete their junior and senior years at their campuses).
And just noting from personal experience, many of my high school classmates in rural Arkansas attended community colleges to pursue a career or to explore their interests at a lower cost than the available four-year options.
(Hat tip to the Institute for Research on Poverty’s Poverty Dispatch, which has re-designed their site and is really a much better product than the old semi-weekly email. Kudos to them.)