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Education

Lawmakers and Experts Argue For Free Community College

photo of free community college advocates
MICHELLE FAUST
/
WCPN

A group advocating for free community college held a panel discussion at Cuyahoga Community College this afternoon with republicans gathered in Cleveland this week for the RNC.

The Republican chair of the state senate education committee likes the idea, but has other priorities.

Peggy Lehner is a Republican representing Kettering, Ohio. She’s in favor a program that would cover the costs of community college.

"Right now, I've been focusing more on the early childhood piece, which frankly I think is more critical. Because I think you build the house from the ground floor; you don't build it by starting with the roof," she said.

Lehner wants to also find ways to cut the cost of higher education to make it more affordable to all Ohio students.

Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director of tnAchieves (Tennessee Achieves), sat on a panel discussing a year-old program that pay for community college. It was put into place by Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam and funded by lottery sales.

"It's about economic development it's about giving students the opportunity to fulfill their potential and I think governor Haslam really is leading the country in terms of being innovative about how do we get more students to enter college."

According to DeAlejandro the issue is not partisan.