How is Obama’s plan affecting community college practice?

Community college leaders say aligning daily practices with Obama’s two years free plan furthers mission to help all students excel.

community-accessPresident Obama’s proposed “free community college” plan sounds great in theory, but how does this proposal affect community colleges? Will key characteristics like mission, administrative duties, and even curriculum, need to change?

According to Obama’s plan, U.S. students would get two free years of community college if they attend at least half-time and earn good grades. Rather than see this call-to-action as a challenge, many higher education leaders, like Dr. Karen Stout, say the plan actually helps their institutions further their missions.

Stout, president of Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pa., said the proposal–which, if passed, would provide $1.36 billion to the America’s College Promise proposal–is “At the heart of our community college mission, which is access and affordability. The America’s College Promise proposal hits both of those.”

Stout said the college will continue to work on programs that reflect Obama’s call while waiting for more details on the plan in order to coordinate a “full-force response.”

(Next page: 3 ways campuses are taking Obama’s call-to-action into practice)

Laura Ascione