First lady Dr. Jill Biden expressed disappointment Monday that free community college won’t be included in the Build Back Better plan.
Biden, who is a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College, conceded the ambitious provision was off the table at the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington.
“One year ago, I told this group that Joe was going to fight for community colleges,” Biden said.
“But [President] Joe [Biden] has also had to make compromises. Congress hasn’t passed the Build Back Better legislation — yet. And free community college is no longer a part of that package,” she said.
Jill Biden has long been a supporter of higher education being accessible to all Americans. At the summit, she noted how the proposal faced a tough battle.
“Still, like you, I was disappointed. Because, like you, these aren’t just bills or budgets to me, to you, right? We know what they mean for real people, for our students. We’ve seen how entire towns can be transformed when community colleges and private companies work together to train students for jobs that are desperately needed — with skills like manufacturing or modernizing our electrical grid,” Jill Biden said.
Community colleges were slated to receive $45.5 billion from the bill, which would waive two years of students’ tuition.
The Build Back Better bill stalled in early January due to the lack of support from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V.
Democrats have sought to find new ways to pass some parts of the bill. The bill originally had a price tag of about $3.5 trillion. After failing to gain support from moderate Democrats, the White House later released a $1.75 trillion framework.
A plan to provide two years of free community college to all eligible students is off the table, Jill Biden said in a speech on Monday. It was her starkest acknowledgment yet that a measure she had championed is dead. https://t.co/Wu8uwp5WWg pic.twitter.com/NIZBrBdeSe
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 7, 2022
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