Tuesday, July 14, 2009

President Obama Announces Major Initiative for Community Colleges

Today, President Barack Obama visited Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan to make a “historic” announcement about community colleges.

President Obama stated, “...today I'm announcing the most significant down payment yet on reaching the goal of having the highest college graduation rate of any nation in the world. We're going to achieve this in the next 10 years. And it's called the American Graduation Initiative. It will reform and strengthen community colleges like this one from coast to coast so they get the resources that students and schools need -- and the results workers and businesses demand. Through this plan, we seek to help an additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade. Not since the passage of the original GI Bill and the work of President Truman's Commission on Higher Education -- which helped to double the number of community colleges and increase by seven-fold enrollment in those colleges -- have we taken such a historic step on behalf of community colleges in America.”

The programs in the American Graduation Initiative are comprised of four programs. The funding as proposed by the Administration is $12 billion over ten years. According to the White House’s fact sheet, the initiative will create:

  • The Community College Challenge Fund: The Challenge Fund, $9 billion over ten years, will provide competitive grants to community colleges and states to build partnerships, expand course offerings, improve remedial and adult education, to innovate and expand proven reforms, and provide support services.
  • The College Access and Completion Fund: The Completion Fund will support efforts to increase college graduation rates and close achievement gaps, including those at community colleges. The College Access and Completion Fund was proposed in the President’s FY2010 budget request at $2.5 billion over five years.
  • A Fund for Community College Facilities: President Obama is proposing a new $2.5 billion fund to catalyze $10 billion in community college facility investments that will expand the colleges’ ability to meet employer and student needs. The resources could be used to pay the interest on bonds or other debt, seed capital campaigns, or create state revolving loan funds.
  • The New Online Skills Laboratory: This program funded at $500 million over ten years will support grants to create new open-access online courses.
  • The Departments of Defense, Education, and Labor will work together to make the courses freely available through one or more community colleges and the Defense Department’s distributed learning network, explore ways to award academic credit based upon achievement rather than class hours, and rigorously evaluate the results.
  • The Administration is working with Congress to use the savings from the conversion of the Federal Family Loan Program to the Direct Loan program to support the American Graduation Initiative.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are using the budget reconciliation process to pass this bill. The House Education and Labor Committee is tentatively scheduled to markup a bill next week, which is expected to deal with the conversion and provide legislative language for the Initiative.

The Committee is expected to release its bill this week and ACCT will provide an update when we receive a draft of the bill.

To read the whole speech, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-on-the-American-Graduation-Initiative-in-Warren-MI/

To read the White House’s fact sheet on the initiative, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Excerpts-of-the-Presidents-remarks-in-Warren-Michigan-and-fact-sheet-on-the-American-Graduation-Initiative/

No comments:

Post a Comment