Education News

Coming to Community Colleges: New Ratings, Maybe Free Tuition

The changes are coming from the Obama administration and would impact higher education in Texas.


Steve Head, the chancellor of Lone Star College System. Photo courtesy of Lone Star College System

President Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free to qualified students.

The federal government would pick up the tab for about 75 percent of the cost. States like Texas would cover the rest.

In return, students would have to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and attend classes at least half-time.

The idea has grabbed a lot of attention. But what does it mean for students here in Texas?

News 88.7 Education Reporter Laura Isensee recently talked with Steve Head, the chancellor of Lone Star College System, about the president’s proposal and other changes in higher education.

Listen to their conversation below.

Here are some highlights:

  • On making the first two years of community college free: “Yes, I would (support it), if the dollars could be figured out. Because I, and I think other community college leaders feel the same way, how can you argue against free education, given the value to our society?”
  • On the federal government rating universities and colleges: “I don’t mind us submitting data, if somebody is going to use it, and we do quite a bit of that. The question is what are you going to do with it? … We are not in favor of the federal government getting any more involved than they already are.”
  • On the changing mission of community colleges: “Well, it has … What you’re seeing is, community college, they make sense academically and from a workforce perspective, if that’s going to be your route. They make sense financially for parents. Maybe the most important of them all though, they make sense when you’re trying to develop the person themselves.”



Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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