Congressman Tim Ryan Statement on President’s Proposal to Make Community College Free

Jan 14, 2015 Issues: Education

Washington DC – Congressman Tim Ryan made the following statement today regarding President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal, which will enable up to 9 million students to receive a free community college education:

"I applaud President Obama’s leadership and foresight with America’s College Promise proposal, which has the ability to enable an estimated 9 million students to receive a free community college education. Community Colleges are an important part of our higher education system and I am pleased the White House is giving them the attention and support they have earned and so deeply deserve. Northeast Ohio has some of our nation’s premier community colleges in Eastern Gateway Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and Stark State University and this proposal will mean increased access and affordability for our young people to receive quality higher education right here at home. I call on Congress to act swiftly and pass legislation to make America’s College Promise a reality. If we want to stay competitive as a nation it is crucial that we continue to have the most educated and skilled workforce for generations to come," said Congressman Ryan. 

The America’s College Promise proposal makes two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost. This proposal will require everyone to do their part: community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate, states must invest more in higher education and training, and students must take responsibility for their education, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate. The program would be undertaken in partnership with states and is inspired by new programs in Tennessee and Chicago. If all states participate, an estimated 9 million students could benefit. A full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year. 
 
In addition, the President will propose a new American Technical Training Fund to expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs similar to Tennessee Tech Centers that meet employer needs and help prepare more Americans for better paying jobs. These proposals build on a number of historic investments the President has made in college affordability and quality since taking office, including a $1,000 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to help working and middle class families, the creation of the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, reforming student loans to eliminate subsidies to banks to invest in making college more affordable and keeping student debt manageable, and making available over $2 billion in grants to connect community colleges with employers to develop programs that are designed to get hard-working students good jobs.