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Sen. Dodd Unveils Free Community College Plan


Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd’s plan to make higher education more accessible includes promises of free community college education for every American — so long as states agree to foot half the cost.

The plan by the Connecticut senator to make community college free relies on a 50-50 deal with states, matching state tuition subsidies dollar for dollar up to half the cost of in-state tuition.

“If a state agrees to pay half the cost of a community college student’s tuition, community college will become free for that student,” according to an outline of the plan provided to The Associated Press.

States would qualify for federal matching money by keeping their appropriations for public community colleges level from the year before.

Dodd was to unveil his higher education plan Wednesday at a roundtable in Manchester. Besides offering free community college education and a modest bump in Pell grants for poor students, Dodd’s plan focuses on broad goals such as “putting a spotlight on the skyrocketing cost of tuition” and “protecting students from unscrupulous lenders.”

A Dodd administration would draw attention to high college tuitions by publishing an annual tuition inflation index and a list of colleges and universities whose fees exceed that amount, according the outline. It would end corporate subsidies for student loans and require banks to compete for student loan business though a federal auction system. Dodd promises to extend new protections to private student loan holders to “improve transparency, prevent unfair and deceptive private lending practices and eliminate conflicts of interest” but does say how he would do it.

Dodd also would raise Pell grants by $100 a year, in line with what Congress has already passed.

“The Dodd plan will guarantee that no American is ever denied a college education because of cost,” the plan stated.

— Associated Press


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