Friday, September 19, 2014

Free community college: Coming soon to Oregon?

USA Today
September 19th, 2014

Oregon lawmakers are currently exploring a proposal that could make community college free to the state’s residents.
In 2011, the state set a so-called “40-40-20” goal, which declares that by 2025, 40% of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40% will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential, and 20% will have earned a high school diploma or the equivalent.
The free community college program would be one way lawmakers could meet that goal.
 Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), says that although the Commission “has not yet made a formal recommendation” to the legislature, HECC is “excited about this attention to college affordability.”
“This would raise awareness and hope with youth in Oregon about their ability to access community college education,” Cannon writes in an email. “(W)e want to increase the number of Oregonians starting and completing degree and certificate programs in order to prepare for the 21st century economy.”
HECC, at the behest of the Oregon Legislature, contracted The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) to develop the financial model for the proposal.

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