Presidential Candidate John Edwards Has a Plan to Make College Affordable for All Qualified Students

In 2006 John Edwards, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina who is now running for president of the United States, donated $300,000 to Greene Central High School in North Carolina. The high school serves a largely impoverished rural community where blacks and other minorities make up nearly two thirds of the students. Historically, only about 25 percent of the graduating seniors at the high school have gone on to college.

The money donated by Edwards was used to pay for the first year of college for students of any race who took a college preparatory curriculum, refrained from drug and alcohol use, and did not have a criminal record. Under the program the number of students enrolling in college nearly doubled.

Now Edwards has made the College for Everyone program a key part of his presidential campaign. He proposes that the federal government guarantee college  funds for students who adequately prepare for higher education in high school and have good disciplinary records. In return, the students would work about 10 hours a week while in college.

Edwards estimates that the program would cost taxpayers about $8 billion a year.