Jill Biden promises free access to community college

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First lady Jill Biden's necklace says "Mama," as she takes a tour of Whitman-Walker Health, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, in Washington.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

WASHINGTON – Jill Biden is pushing free access to community college and training programs, saying the schools will be an important part of Biden administration efforts to rebuild the economy.

A longtime community college professor and advocate, the first lady said people struggling to get by during the coronavirus-induced economic slump need access to these schools.

“We have to get this done. And we have to do it now. That's why we're going to make sure that everyone has access to free community college and training programs,” Jill Biden said in taped remarks broadcast Tuesday during a virtual legislative summit hosted by the Association of Community College Trustees and the American Association of Community Colleges.

She was not more specific. As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden promised two years of community college or training “without debt.”

Similar proposals have been put forward in the past.

In 2015, President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden pushed a plan to provide two years of free community college, but the proposal languished in Congress.

Jill Biden indicated that the administration would revive the idea.

“We’re going to make sure students have the support they need to cross that finish line,” she said. "We're going to invest in programs that prepare our workers for jobs of the future.”