Eduardo J. Padrón
Office of the President
300 N.E. Second Avenue
Miami, Florida 33132-2297
Message From the President
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
President Obama validates community colleges' role
The role of community colleges as instruments of progress was validated yesterday when President Obama traveled to Macomb Community College in Michigan to unveil a plan that will invest $12 billion over the next decade in two-year institutions across the country.
This is very welcome news and Miami Dade College stands to benefit in numerous ways under this initiative. The four key components of Obama's plan aimed at giving us and our students much needed new resources are as follows:
- Community college challenge grants, to help underfunded colleges that are dealing with limited capacity and to build partnerships with schools and businesses.
- The Access and Completion Fund, to provide new scholarships for students and just as important, support our efforts to ensure that many more students complete their course of study.
- Modernizing of community-college facilities, with $2.5 billion to help renovate facilities and keep up with maintenance costs.
- Open online courses, to meet the growing demand for online education.
In addition to the above, President Obama announced a goal of creating 5-million additional community-college graduates, for a total of 11 million enrolled in community colleges by 2020.
As you will recall, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Dr. Jill Biden visited Miami Dade College in March to exchange ideas on improving student access and achievement at colleges and universities and to discuss the importance of community colleges in job creation. Duncan and Biden praised the work of community colleges in providing students with a quality education at an affordable cost and noted MDC's reputation of being "the best of the best."
It is the result of these types of interactions that we, as a nation, have come to a heightened understanding of the pivotal role that community colleges will have in the country's economic recovery. I am grateful that the Obama administration is recognizing and rewarding our hard work and thankful for our faculty and staff who remain committed to serving the educational and economic development needs of our community and country.
In the wake of the steep decline in funding at the state level, the news of increased support at the federal level is certainly excellent news for us. We are looking at ways to maximize the benefit MDC will receive from this funding -- which could be available as soon as October 2010 -- and will keep you apprised as details of the President's plan unfold.