Obama’s Free Community College Gambit Flunks First Republican Test


President Obama’s ambitious plan to provide two years of free community college to all Americans may be dead on arrival, as the Republican support needed to make it happen is lacking. Several key Republicans have already explicitly rejected the president’s approach, which would offer close to $4,000 a year to any American seeking to attend a two-year community college program.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, who this week ascended to the chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee, said Obama’s creation of “a new federal program” isn’t the best way to improve college access, even if that program is based on a Republican-created plan in his home state of Tennessee.

“The right way to expand Tennessee Promise nationally is for other states to do for themselves what Tennessee has done,” Alexander said in a statement. Alexander also suggested Obama could improve college access by helping to simplify the complicated application process used to obtain existing federal Pell grants.
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