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Broward College signs on to Gov. Rick Scott's $10K challenge

Community college offers affordable 4-year opportunity

Broward College students line up during a 2013 graduation ceremony.
Broward College students line up during a 2013 graduation ceremony. (COURTESY OF BROWARD COLLEGE)


MIAMI – While there remains a misconception that community colleges are an option for flunked out high school students, the inexpensive tuition rates continue to attract undocumented students and other minorities.

Broward College promised Tuesday that most of their bachelor's degrees were going to cost just $10,000. The announcement was in response to Gov. Rick Scott's 2012 $10,000 challenge.

"The initiative provides students with the opportunity to obtain one of the most affordable bachelor's degrees in the nation," Broward College President J. David Armstrong Jr. said.

His statement comes a day after President Barack Obama talked about his administration's efforts to make college affordable. Obama is pushing for a $60 billion proposal to help "any student willing to work for it" to attend a two-year community college for free.

The proposal would require students to maintain a 2.5 grade point average and their parents to have an income of less than $200,000 a year. If a student's parents makes less that $65,000 a year, he or she already qualifies for government aid. That is unless the student is undocumented.

LAW SUMMARY: Understanding the America's College Promise Act of 2015

About 40 percent of high school graduates enroll in community colleges, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The average bill for a bachelor's degree at a top-tier school is at least $50,000, according to the center. 

HOPEFUL STORY

Brizzia and Maria Munoz, who were born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and came to the U.S. at age 5, are undocumented.

The Munoz sisters were high school valedictorians. A school counselor helped them to enroll at the prestigious University of Notre Dame, a Catholic research university in Indiana. The girls benefited from DACA.

The grateful sisters made a promise: "We are committed to working hard, so that one day we will be able to give the university and our nation as much as they have given us."

In the last five years, the DREAMers movement has raised awareness and paved the way for a generation of undocumented students. Last year Obama expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a two-year program that allows some undocumented students to attend college legally in the U.S.

As The Wallet Hub recently ranked Broward College 13th in the country for offering a good deal, the college reported an increase in African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American graduates.

Most DACA students in South Florida come from working class families with little to no options for financing. It's unclear if the "free college" plan will apply to DACA and undocumented students. Some found Obama's statement at the town hall in Iowa promising.

"No young person should be priced out of college," Obama said. "They should not be priced out of an education." The president added that he told his daughter Malia, who is set to attend college next year, that she didn't necessarily need "some name-brand fancy school."

Broward College may not be an option for Malia, but it will be a viable opportunity for many students from low-income families in South Florida. Armstrong said Broward College "strives to be a leader in providing access to affordable higher education."

Their $10,000 four-year degrees include: Exceptional student education, middle grades general science, secondary biology education, middle grades mathematics education, secondary mathematics education, environmental science, supervision and management, information technology and supply chain management.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's ideas inspired Scott's $10,000 challenge, which included $5 million to help Florida colleges to come up with science, technology, engineering and math degrees designed to lead to jobs.

Follow Local10.com reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime