Students line up to hear Obama's $12 billion community college plan
Candice Williams, Marisa Schultz and David Shepardson / The Detroit News
Warren -- The students who began to gather this afternoon to hear President Barack Obama unveil a $12 billion plan to invest in the nation's community colleges are part of a Michigan community college system that is bursting at the seams with record enrollment.
The number of students among the state's 28 community colleges reached nearly 235,000 last year, and online enrollment topped 52,000 as more displaced workers head back to school for training and high school graduates can't afford a university education.
"Clearly, capacity is an issue there," said Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association. "There's far more demand than there is supply for online enrollment. Money would be a big help." A White House officials say the investment -- called the American Graduation Initiative -- will be spread over a decade. It includes $9 billion to fuel community college challenge grants, $2.5 billion for construction and renovation of buildings and $500 million for online curriculum development. The initiative will get under way within the first six months of 2010, officials said.
"This is history," said Sam Adams, 25, of St. Clair Shores. "It's exciting (Obama) is coming to Michigan to talk about what he's going to do for us."