For Community Colleges, Federal Aid Would Come With Strings Attached

For Community Colleges, Federal Aid Would Come With Strings Attached 1

PHOTOGRAPH BY John Welsh

Faculty members at Montgomery County Community College, in Pennsylvania, applaud students from the Class of 2009 during the institution's commencement ceremony.

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close For Community Colleges, Federal Aid Would Come With Strings Attached 1

PHOTOGRAPH BY John Welsh

Faculty members at Montgomery County Community College, in Pennsylvania, applaud students from the Class of 2009 during the institution's commencement ceremony.

When President Obama announced last month that he would spend $9-billion on grants to improve community colleges, campus leaders knew the money would come with strings attached. But the extent of those strings took some college presidents by surprise.

The day after the president's announcement, the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a sweeping student-aid bill that laid out a series of benchmarks that colleges and states would have to meet to receive the money. Under the measure,