Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dodd Calls for Free Community College

Last week in Des Moines, Chris Dodd outlined his education plans. As a public school teacher, I was very interested to hear what Dodd had to say. Dodd has long been a champion of K-12 public education and has introduced in a bill in the Senate to reform No Child Left Behind that has been endorsed by the NEA.

The part of his plan, however, that stuck out to me was his call for free community college. Dodd would reform the student loan system and make changes to the subsidies banks recieve. Banks would then have to compete with one another for the loans. Dodd would use these savings to provide matching funds to states for tuition at community colleges. If a state picked up 20% of the cost then they would get 20% from the federal government. If a state picked up 50% of the cost then the federal government would pitch in the other 50%.

Sen. Dodd's plan would open up access to many Americans. This plan is a bold vision that could spark economic growth for years to come. Community Colleges are tremendous vehicles to promote education of people of all ages. If people are looking to gain a college degree or for job training, community colleges are key parts of the education system.

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