Vice President Biden on Saturday said free community college was vital for a healthy American economy.
 
“It’s simple, folks — two years of community college should become as free and universal as high school is today if we’re to make this economic resurgence permanent and well into the 21st Century,” he said in the White House’s weekly address.
 
Biden argued that Americans insisting on free high school had produced a competitive U.S. workforce in years past. With other countries catching up, he added, the time was ripe for reaching new heights on educational access.
 
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“Folks, the source of our economic power and middle-class strength in the 20th century was the fact that we were among the first major nations in the world to provide twelve years of free education to our citizens,” Biden claimed.
 
“But in the 21st century, other countries have already caught up and 12 years is simply no longer enough,” he added. “A minimum of 14 years is necessary for families to have a surer path to the middle class and for the United States to be able to out-compete the rest of the world.”
 
Biden said his plan with President Obama was no government “give-away.” He said students receiving funds must keep up their grades and graduate on time. 
 
The community colleges hosting them, he added, must also field high graduation and job placement rates for eligibility.
 
Biden revealed that the plan would potentially provide free community college to recipients and cut costs on their higher education later. He said credits earned by funded students would transfer to eligible four-year programs later on.
 
“It’s a simple fact that community colleges are the most flexible educational institutions we have,” Biden said.
 
“Making community colleges free is good for workers, it’s good for companies and it’s good for our economy,” he added.
 
Biden said Obama’s strategy would keep American families from getting “priced out of a piece of the middle-class dream.” By providing them easier educational access, he said, the economy would grow by leaps and bounds.
 
“That’s what middle-class economics is all about — giving folks a fair chance to get ahead,” Biden argued. “No guarantees — just a fair chance.”