President Obama’s recent announcement of an initiative to make community college free for students who maintain a 2.5 GPA offers outstanding opportunities for students of all generations, not only the millennials who clearly stand to gain from the president’s plan.
Community colleges are powerful hubs for practical, on-the ground and workforce training. They also provide access to many, including millions of people age 50+ who may be less interested in long-term academic commitments (such as degree programs), and who stand to benefit handsomely from time-limited coursework leading to certification and professional skills-building. Years ago, Encore.org partnered with community colleges to open doors to older students. We are proud and pleased to see the development of even greater access opportunities.
As institutions of higher education that serve nearly half of all American undergraduates, community colleges are undersung workhorses, even as they are a vital vehicle in our local communities for students of all ages to master the skills and knowledge that help people improve their lives.
Implementation details are still forthcoming, but we anticipate that this new initiative will make access to these life- and work-enhancing academic offerings less onerous – and mean that more people will be able to plan, prepare and transition into encores with real impact: work that mobilizes social change and improves the society we share.