Advocates Present the Case for Free Community College

[photo: Michelle Faust/ ideastream]
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by Michelle Faust

A group advocating for free community college held a panel discussion at Cuyahoga Community College Wednesday as republicans are gathered in Cleveland this week. The Republican chair of the state senate education committee likes the idea, but has other priorities.

Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), who was not at the event, is favor of a program that would cover the costs of community college, but she says Ohio is years away from being ready for that.

"Right now, I've been focusing more on the early childhood piece, which frankly I think is more critical. Because I think you build the house from the ground floor; you don't build it by starting with the roof," she says.

Lehner wants to also find ways to cut the cost of higher education to make it more affordable to all Ohio students.

Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director of tnAchieves, sat on a panel discussing a year old program that pay for community college. It was put into place by Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam and funded by lottery sales.

"It's about economic development it's about giving students the opportunity to fulfill their potential and I think governor Haslam really is leading the country in terms of being innovative about how do we get more students to enter college," says DeAlejandro who believes the issue is not partisan.

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