Whaley wants to offer free community college if she’s elected Ohio governor

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Whaley wants to offer free community college if she’s elected Ohio governor

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat, announces she is running for Ohio governor in front of a crowd of supporters at Warped Wing Brewery Monday, May 8, 2017. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Dayton Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley today announced a plan to provide free community college to Ohioans.

Whaley’s “Ohio Promise” would cost between $50 million and $60 million and would be paid for by issuing state bonds, according to Whaley’s campaign.

The revenue from the bonds would be put into a trust that would be self-sustaining.

The program would require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly referred to as FAFSA. Students who receive FAFSA dollars often need less than $1,000 to fill the gap of what they need to enroll, according to a press release from Whaley’s campaign.

“That shouldn’t come out of hardworking Ohioans’ pockets,” Whaley said. “We should invest in them.”

If a student was approved to participate in Whaley’s “Ohio Promise” plan, the state department of higher education would distribute the funding to the community college.

Both high school graduates and adults would be eligible for Whaley’s proposed program if they are seeking a certificate or degree, according to Whaley’s proposal. Students participating in the proposed program would need to maintain a 2.25 grade-point average while completing their program within two and a half years.

In announcing the proposal, Whaley said her plan would be a “two-way street.”

“We’ll get our students educated, trained and marketable for employers with a debt-free diploma, certificate or skilled trade,” Whaley said. “And we’ll provide Ohio’s employers with educated, trained employees ready to get to work.”

While four year colleges need to work on becoming more affordable, Whaley said her proposal targets community colleges because they are the place to go “if you need something now or if you need something to further your career.”

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