Plan could benefit up to 9 million students

community-collegePresident Barack Obama rolled out a new plan on Jan. 8 to make two years of community college free, or nearly so, for millions of students across the country, a major investment that the White House cast as changing the face of higher education.

The program, inspired by new initiatives in Tennessee and Chicago, could benefit up to 9 million students, advisers said. At its heart is dedicated federal funding to cover 75 percent of tuition, with the states picking up the rest of the tab.

“What I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it,” Obama said in a video filmed on Air Force One and posted Jan. 8 on Facebook, ahead of his planned Jan. 9 visit to a community college and technical center in Knoxville, Tenn., as part of a trip designed to preview his policy plans for 2015.

White House advisers declined to say how much the proposal would cost or how the administration planned to pay for it, but experts said such a venture could cost the federal government tens of billions of dollars.

(Next page: Details about the plan to expand community college access)

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