skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Educators preserve, shape future with 'ALT NEW COLLEGE'; NY appeals court denies delay for Trump civil fraud trial; Michigan coalition gets cash influx to improve childcare.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A House Committee begins its first hearing in the Biden impeachment inquiry, members of Congress talk about the looming budget deadline and energy officials testify about the Maui wildfires.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

"Free" Community College: Would It, Could It, Should It Work in Washington?

play audio
Play

Tuesday, January 13, 2015   

SHORELINE, Wash. - It's still just an idea, but President Obama's mention of a plan to allow students to attend community college free for two years, providing they keep their grades up, is getting thumbs up from some Washington educators.

Tuition at the state's community and technical colleges has risen 38 percent in the last six years. The price tag for Obama's national proposal is $60 billion over a ten-year period, and states would be required to fund one-fourth of the program.

Karen Strickland, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Washington, says it might not be a matter of raising new funds, but redirecting financial aid dollars.

"There is a lot of money that goes into financial aid, and then, maintaining the financial aid system," says Strickland. "So I have no doubt that we have enough money that we can fund this if we want to."

She says another benefit of the plan would be a major reduction in student debt.

But the Obama plan is already being criticized for allowing some students to go to school free, even if they don't need financial assistance. Some members of Congress think it could work better in states and not as a federal program.

History professor Amy Kinsel, who serves as president of the Shoreline Community College Federation of Teachers Local 1950, says funding for community and technical colleges in Washington is partly based on how many graduates the schools turn out. When individuals drop out, it can affect the school's future - as well as students.

"It's really good to focus on community colleges," says Kinsel. "That's where the students aren't completing at the rate that we'd like to see. And those are the students who we can really make a difference with. But if they can't afford to stay in school, it's not going to happen."

Washington has state-funded Need Grants, but in the last academic year, 32,000 students who qualified didn't receive them because the Legislature didn't fully fund the program.

Beyond students' needs, Strickland thinks Congress and states should focus on societal benefits if more people are able to get ahead.

"We need people to have more training than high school in order to compete in a high-functioning economy, and in order for people to have a good quality of life and raise families," says Strickland. "So, if that's what we need, then in my mind, it's an invaluable investment to expand the system that we have."


get more stories like this via email

more stories
Michigan is among 20 states to receive a multiyear grant from the Pritzker Children's Initiative. (SneakyPeakPoints/peopleimages.com/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…


Social Issues

play sound

High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …

Social Issues

play sound

As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …


Lewiston, Idaho, sits on the Snake River at the border with Washington. (Guy Sagi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …

Social Issues

play sound

Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …

Cynthia, Tatum and Damareus, with other members of the True Up Peer Network. (Kentucky Youth Advocates)

Social Issues

play sound

A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …

Social Issues

play sound

Connecticut advocates are keen to see what will come from the recently established White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. The new office …

Environment

play sound

A new report ranks Illinois first among 11 Midwestern states for the amount of clean power capacity under construction, and second for new clean …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021