President’s Proposal Is a “Game Changer” – a Paradigm Shift in Education as it Guarantees a K-14 Education and Expands Access to Job Skills Training
Statement from Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard
“Now more than ever, the jobs of today require a postsecondary education. Education and training is the on-ramp to the middle class—to good jobs with good wages. I applaud President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal to make the first two years of community college free. Community colleges are the gateway to opportunity, serving almost half of America’s undergraduates, and the President’s landmark proposal is a game changer to help ensure that community colleges provide millions of Americans access to higher education and job skills training that will grow our nation’s economy.
I believe that the President’s proposal can greatly expand our nation’s—indeed each state’s and each locality’s—workforce training capabilities. And make no mistake, workforce development is economic development. Our nation’s greatest need is to help build a workforce with essential skills for the 21st Century. The jobs of today and tomorrow require a postsecondary education.
The biggest barrier to the success of students is the cost of education. It’s the number one reason students do not begin a college education, much less graduate. Even community college tuition rates, which are well below those of four-year institutions, are beyond the grasp of many Americans. In Montgomery County, one of the most affluent counties in the nation, our financial aid requests are up by 60 percent over the last five years. Our Pell Grant recipients’ household average income is $27,000, and it takes $83,000 to support a family in our community—and that’s before the cost of education.
Across the nation, fewer than eight percent of students from the lowest income quartile obtain a bachelor’s degree six years after graduating from high school. The President’s proposal to provide free access to community college can dramatically improve educational opportunity and training for millions of these students.
We believe in the promise of an education, because we know it puts students on the path to the middle class and delivers ready workers for good jobs for a growing economy. We look forward to working with the President to expand access to postsecondary education to help ensure success for students and to move America forward.”
Media Contacts: Marcus Rosano 240-567-4022; Fritzi Bodenheimer, 240-567-4098
Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 130 areas of study.