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San Diego Community College District Reacts To Obama’s Free College Plan

President Barack Obama Announces Free Community College Plan

Aboard Air Force One, President Barack Obama on Friday told the nation about his plan to make two years of community college free for every American.

The San Diego Community College District has been wrestling with costs for a long time. Community college costs $46 per unit, which is $138 for a typical three-unit class.

“Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everyone that’s willing to work for it,” Obama said.

The president’s plan requires students to have a 2.5 grade point average and attend college at least part-time. On the other hand, colleges must offer courses that are transferable to a four-year school or serve as occupational training.

Under the proposal, the federal government will pay for three quarters of the cost, but participating states will be expected to contribute the rest.

Bonnie Ann Dowd, executive vice chancellor of business and technology services at the San Diego Community College District, describes the president’s proposal as a "Back-to-the-Future" moment for California colleges.

“Prior to 1984, folks didn’t pay for community college. We’re still the best game in town, nationally, because it’s only $46 a unit,” Dowd said. “But still, when students go on, its very, very expensive to continue their education.”

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