Yesterday, President Barack Obama proposed the American Graduation Initiative, to increase college graduation rates, a prospect Pikes Peak Community College President Dr. Anthony Kinkel
called the most efficient use of tax-payer dollars.
“I can guarantee that if Congress can pass this initiative,” Kinkel said, “the return on investment with community colleges will be higher than anything else they spend their money on. “But we don’t count on the money until we see the check in the bank.”
Obama said the plan would be paid for “by ending the wasteful subsidies we currently provide to banks and private lenders for student loans.”
The plan would cost $12 billion and be implemented over a period of 10 years.
About $9 billion is slated for challenge grants, $500 million for online education, and $2.5 billion to back $10 billion in loans to renovate and rebuild college classrooms and buildings across the country.
The president said he wants an additional 5 million Americans to earn degrees and certificates during the next decade.
Kinkel said the initiative is moving in the right direction, “since the most efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars is to provide more people with the opportunity to attend a community college.”
“We can do it cheaper and faster, and then they can transfer to a four-year college if they want,” he said.
As for the proposed allocation of money, Kinkel said that $9 billion toward challenge grants is good because “from an accountability standpoint, you have to prove yourself” as a college to receive the money.
Money for renovation and construction would be welcome, too.
“We have a number of renovation and facility needs – the Centennial campus is 35 years old. And I imagine other community colleges have the same needs,” he said.
The fastest growing component of PPCC is hybrid courses, which are online, plus one day a week on campus. And 85 percent of online students at the college are from El Paso County, so additional money for online courses also would help the larger community.