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President Obama Proposes Free Community College For Students Maintaining 2.5 GPA

President Obama unveiled his plan to make community college free to students willing to work to keep their grades up.

As part of his early State of the Union unveiling, President Obama announced his plan to make two years of community college tuition-free for all students who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better.

Under President Obama's new proposal, students would be able to earn the first half of a bachelor's degree, or earn the technical skills needed in the workforce -- all at no cost to them.

What students have to do:

Students must attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make steady progress toward completing their program.

What community colleges have to do: Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that are either

1) academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities, or

2) occupational training programs with high graduation rates and lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Community colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes.

What the federal government has to do: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. Participating states will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate the tuition for eligible students.

This would be a huge savings for families with college-age students. The costs of 4-year universities and colleges are nearly impossible for most middle-class families to afford. Community colleges are great vehicles for job training and completion of the first two years of a four-year degree.

But will Congress go along? That's the question.

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