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Gateway Technical College is embarking on a fundraising journey to raise $3 million so the area’s neediest students can get an Associate’s Degree for free.

The first goal, though, is to raise $1 million to kick off the program with the current class of high school juniors who will go to college in the fall of 2017, a story in The Journal Times reads.

Zina Haywood, Gateway executive vice president and provost, told the newspaper the finer details of the plan are still being hammered out, but the goal is to offer free tuition for the neediest students.

She said the plan was inspired by President Barack Obama’s proposal that all students attending a community or technical school receive free tuition for the first two years. While that idea has yet to go anywhere in Washington, Haywood noted that other communities – including in Chicago and cities in Tennessee and Oregon – are already offering free two-year programs, the story continues.

Obama’s plan would provide free tuition to students with a combined family income of less than $200,000 and who can maintain a 2.5 grade point average.

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