Barack Obama will announce a plan today to pump $12 billion into community colleges over the next 10 years, USA Today reports. Most of the money—$9 billion—would reward programs that bolster graduation rates, or help graduates find local jobs. Another $2.5 billion would help seed renovation projects, hoping to spur $10 billion worth of spending. The last $500 million would be used to create free online courses.
Though the $12 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to the $100 billion in education funding in the stimulus bill, it’s a big upgrade from the $2 billion in direct aid the government now gives to community colleges. Obama hopes to pay for it by cutting private lenders out of the federal student loan program. That would save an estimated $87 billion over 10 years, but it faces opposition in Congress. (Read more college stories.)