STAFF EDITORIAL: Community college funding helps higher education

President Obama announced a shift in college funding with the dedication of an additional $12 billion in funding to community colleges Tuesday.

The American Graduation Initiative provides a 10 percent increase in federal funding for community colleges across the U.S. The increase will take place over a 10-year period, and will be significant even for four-year institutions such as UH.

‘Community colleges are an essential part of our recovery in the present and our prosperity in the future,’ Obama said in Tuesday’s address to Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich.

Community colleges allow easier access than many four-year institutions, and also help students gain a foothold into the academic world without the commitment of as many university fees.

The community college programs in the U.S. also provide training to replace obsolete skill sets in the changing job market.

These skills may help get people back on their feet after a lifetime of working, allow a first time college student to get some credits and transfer to UH, allow a student to earn enough money to live on while going to school or help another generation of children go to school.

Although some may see the allotment of these funds as misplaced and somehow better spent on funding traditional universities, the educational community has a mandate to serve all who seek an education.

UH gains when Houston’s community colleges thrive. Many of those students may pursue further studies at UH, and if they do not, their children likely will.

‘By 2020, this nation will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world,’ Obama said.

Education is a healthy investment. It is a part of the infrastructure of the U.S., which has been somewhat neglected, but this initiative is a good start to correcting the problem.

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