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Saturday, February 13, 2016

President Obama Proposing in 2017 to Provide Free College Tuition to Low Income Students Attending Black Colleges

President Obama with college students

Washington, DC — If all goes well, the Obama Administration’s plan to make community college free for select students will go live in the year 2017. The program, also known as America’s College Promise (ACP), will allow eligible community college students to work toward the first half of either their bachelor’s or associate’s degree at no cost.”

Supporting two years of free community college for responsible students through a $60.8 billion mandatory investment in ACP over the next ten years, this proposal will also provide low-income students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with up to two free years of college or
significantly reduced tuition.

The program is a part of a $4.1 trillion 2017 fiscal year budget, and Obama says his budget plan is especially for those in low-income families. Within that budget is also $69.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, which will help all children to have access to high-quality preschool education.

But why?

According to President Obama, by 2020, two-thirds of jobs will require some education beyond the high school level. So his proposal and budget also aims to strengthen Pell Grants, which allow college students to take summer classes, and provide scholarships for select inmates in prison so they too can quailify for jobs when released.

The proposal also includes an additional $300 “On-Track Pell Bonus” for students who stay on course to graduate on time by taking approximately 15 credit hours per semester, and a “Second Chance Pell” proposal for prisoners who have served their time and near reentry into society.

What about Black colleges?

The budget would also allocate $30 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) to help create competitive and innovative strategies for student success, with the hope of increasing the rate of graduation among low-income students and students of color.

Education Secretary John B. King Jr., comments, “The President’s budget reflects the Administration’s broader efforts to expand opportunity and ensure every child can achieve his or her full potential. We have made tremendous progress with record high school graduation rates and more students of color going to college, but we have further to go to ensure that educational excellence is a reality for all students. This budget builds on the Administration’s continued efforts to invest in education, from high-quality early learning through college.”

For more details about the proposal, visit www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/09/fact-sheet-white-house-unveils-america-s-college-promise-proposal-tuitio

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