President Barack Obama dropped a sneak peak of his State of the Union address on Thursday by announcing a plan to make two years of community college free for “anyone who’s willing to work for it.” We’ll have to wait until January 20th for the full details, but the idea is already generating lots of excitement, including at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central College.
“We fully support President Obama’s vision. It would be a huge boost to our students and Washington’s economy,” said SCC spokesperson David Sandler in a statement on the announcement.
The federal government would initially fund 75% of the program while states would pick up the rest.
SCC enrolls nearly 17,000 students across 78 degrees and certification programs. Sandler said the White House initiative would reinforce the school’s 2013 scholarship program called The Seattle Promise, which pays full tuition for students who demonstrate financial need and maintain a certain GPA.
“In many ways, the President’s proposal affirms the approach we’re already taking to make a college education more accessible to more people,” Sandler said.
Vice President Joe Biden joined Obama in Tennessee on Friday to drum up more excitement for the plan. POTUS attended a Madrona fundraiser in July.
The proposal comes as Seattle Central and its Seattle Colleges District system join other community colleges in the state with continued declining enrollment of full time students — a situation predicted to last through at least 2017. The same state analysis predicts tuition to remain steady. But budget cuts have continued to take their toll on staff and facilities even as the Capitol Hill school has launched new initiatives to expand its offerings. Last year, SCC made a controversial move to drop “community” from the college’s name, but we’re pretty sure that it’s still eligible for the proposed Obama bucks.