Stimulus Cash For College


A community college education is looking like a smarter choice than it was before the recession, and because of government stimulus funds, more resources and opportunities may be available to community college students.

Some have suggested that enrollment at the more affordable institutions has increased recently due to the high cost of private university education and the need for some workers to develop new skills after losing jobs. The Obama administration plans to spend $12 billion in stimulus funds to boost funding at community colleges, aiming to increase enrollment from 6 million today to 11 million by 2020.

In addition to improving and building new community college facilities, $9 billion of the funds would help students earn their associates degrees and transfer from two-year to four-year institutions in a move to reduce dropout rates. They’d also support improvements in college programs, training and counseling. About $500 million would be invested in online education initiatives. $2.5 billion would be contributed to a $10 billion fund to support renovation and construction nationwide, according to President Obama’s economic policy adviser, James Kvaal.

Improved education and job training are expected to make Americans more competitive for jobs in the clean energy industry as well as other industries, when the job market does finally improve.

"It's time to reform our community colleges so that they provide Americans of all ages a chance to learn the skills and knowledge necessary to compete for the jobs of the future," the president says.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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