President Obama proposes free community college - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

President Obama proposes free community college

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Two free years of community college.

That's the big idea behind a new proposal announced by the White House, Friday.

It could help millions of students pay for school but some lawmakers are already questioning who will pick up the tab to pay for it.

"For us we need more students to go to college and so this will be a great impact for Boone County, Winnebago County and our region," said Rockford University's President for Enrollment Management, Eric Fulcomer

Fulcomer says he's behind President Obama's recent proposal.

The president says his plan will help train the workforce and improve U.S. competitiveness with other countries.

"I am announcing an ambitious new plan to bring down the cost of community college tuition in America," said President Obama. "I want to bring it down, to zero."

The White House says it could mean a savings of up to $3,800 a year for the average full-time student.

Students must maintain at least a 2.5 G.P.A and attend school at least part-time.

The cost of the program could cost around $60 billion over 10 years.

The White House says that would be split between states and the federal government.

States could decide to opt out if they choose.

13 News reached out to Rock Valley College President Mike Mastroianni. He released a statement saying, "Those of us in higher education encourage any state or federally funded programs and institutional level support that will contribute to eliminating the achievement gap in our nation."

And even though this only pays for community college tuition, four year schools think it will send more students their way, too.

"I think we will see an increase in enrollment as a result of this because we have so many transfer students and more students are getting an Associate's degree they'll eventually want bachelors degrees so they'll come here," said Fulcomer.

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