President Obama to unveil America’s College Promise in Knoxville

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WHNT) – The highest leaders of the country are expected to appear today just a few hours away from the Tennessee Valley.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be in Knoxville to pitch what they call America’s College Promise.

The two will appear at Pellissippi State Community College around 1:30 pm.

They’ll talk about a proposal to set things up so students could get the first two years of community college education for free, if they’re willing to work for it.

The president announced his idea over Facebook this week. It could mean a savings of $3,800 in tuition per year for college students.

By saying students would have to work for it, Mr. Obama says students would have to have a mentor, complete eight hours of community service per term, and maintain a 2.0 GPA.

The plan would require both the federal government and states to split the tab.

“It is something that we can accomplish and it is something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world,” President Obama said in the Facebook video.

The idea is to make community college as universal as high school is today. It’s estimated that if lawmakers pass the President’s plan, it could help some 9 million college students if all states participate.

Not surprisingly, those who follow Washington politics say the legislation could be tough to pass.

The president’s appearance is not open to the public.

Tennessee, by the way, is in its first year of a statewide scholarship program called Tennessee Promise that aims to make community college free for all who meet certain requirements.