Dr. Jill Biden: We have got to get free community college and we have to do it now

Bidens Depart for Walter Reed National Military Military Center
My favorite thing about the Obama administration was the sister-love between Michelle O and Jill Biden. I always got so excited when I saw those two ladies together. They were both such strong, educated AND loving women and an amazing example of how women can support each other. Despite both Jill and Michelle having similar attributes, they expressed them differently and that also made me happy. I also loved how their husbands so openly loved them and showed them affection. We now get Dr. Jill Biden as FLOTUS and I am excited to see what she will do. The good news is, we won’t have to wait too long. Dr. Biden has hit the ground running by visiting charities and taking home baked-cookies to the National Guardsmen protecting the Capitol. Now, she is taking on an even bigger challenge in her quest to fulfill her husband’s promise for free community college. As a part-time community college professor, Dr. Jill understands the importance of a higher education without unreasonable debt. Below is more on the project from People:

“We have to get this done and we have to do it now,” said Biden, 69, according to her press secretary, Michael LaRosa, who posted the comments on Twitter. “That’s why we’re going to make sure that everyone has access to free community college and training programs.”

She continued: “We’re going to make sure students have the support they need to cross that finish line. We’re going to invest in programs that prepare our workers for jobs of the future.”

The first lady, who has a doctorate in education, taught while serving as second lady and is continuing to work as a community college English professor while in the White House.

On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden also touted the importance of free community college or high-quality training programs for Americans.

Dr. Biden has likewise often touted the value of community colleges and advocated for increased access. In a 2015 interview on Late Night With Seth Meyers, she pushed the tuition-free proposal, saying, “We want to make college affordable for all Americans.”

The Biden administration is likely to revive that idea.

“In the 21st century, twelve years of school isn’t enough,” he tweeted in December, roughly one month before taking office. “That’s why under the Biden-Harris plan, community college will be free — and public colleges and universities will be tuition-free for families earning less than $125,000 a year.”

[From People]

I am so excited about this project because I feel that we shouldn’t have to get into so much debt for a higher education. Especially since we pay high taxes in many cases, which should be invested back into Americans. Free college is scary for corporations because they can use exorbitant debt to keep people working for low wages. I know that the original plan was brought to the House and Senate during the Obama administration and was blocked by Republican lawmakers. However, I hope the Biden administration learned from the first two years of the Obama administration and push these sorts of projects through while they have the numbers in all three branches of government. Projects like free college tuition and student loan relief will definitely make life better for many Americans. Also tuition free community college may motivate more people to go to school for specialization in fields that are seeing less enrollment.

Dr. Jill will do great things over the next four years. I look forward to Jill restoring integrity to the role of FLOTUS. Hopefully, we will get more footage of Jill hanging out with Michelle AND Doug. I hope Doug and Jill do a lot of projects together that will make life easier for everyday Americans. I also hope that the bill to pay off $10-25,000 student loan debt will also get passed. It is time that our government works for the people who elect them and not the corporate overlords. Hopefully the next few years will bring America back to center, both economically and culturally. I would like to see what happens to our economy and our morale when our government bails people out verses bailing out corporations who don’t even pay their fair share in taxes.

President Biden departs White House for Walter Reed

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Photos credit: Avalon.red and via Instagram

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27 Responses to “Dr. Jill Biden: We have got to get free community college and we have to do it now”

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  1. Lightpurple says:

    Wait. What? A First Lady with an initiative that has clearly defined goals that actually benefit people? A First Lady who isn’t taking the first six months off? A First Lady who is on speaking terms with other former First Ladies AND the second spouse? A First Lady who appears to enjoy being near her husband? What? What is this fantasyland? Who is this Dr. Jill Biden? Why is she being so, so … what is the word? So … HUMAN?

  2. Anilehcim says:

    This makes me SO happy! Community college has a special place in my heart.

    I didn’t go to college directly out of high school and I was a first-generation college student so it was REALLY scary at first. I didn’t think college would be an option for me because I thought I missed the boat and my best friend at the time was super discouraging about it. Community college was an absolute life changer for me; I will never forget the amazing women that I met who went back to school while working full time jobs and balancing kids and husbands/partners while they were at it. In my experience, if you want to see people, especially women, who work their asses off, who are brave enough to start again, who exhibit sheer determination, community colleges are full of them.

    I hope our society loses the elitist bullshit snobby attitude about community colleges. As much as my experience there was invaluable and life changing, I still came across people who wanted to practically give me their condolences when they heard I was “only” attending a community college. There are a lot of very confused people who equate expensive private schools with excellence. Dr. Biden is a champion for education and I love her so much for it. I’m a teacher now and I love that we have a teacher in the White House.

    • Noodle says:

      I love your recognition of CCs and the influence they had in your life. They really do fulfill important functions in terms of preparing students for careers, trades, future college, and life. Their affordability is often what makes the difference between someone able to pursue higher education, or not, and that access and flexibility is life changing. A lot of my teacher candidates started their education at the community colleges, and attribute so much of their success to that experience. I hold professors at CCs in very high regard as they have incredibly large class sizes, and carry heavy loads in terms of student support. They also have to cater to a wide array of students, from “fresh out of high school” 18 year olds, to grandmas who want to start a new career at age 70. They do it all, and they do it all for the good of students and our communities, rather than fame and recognition.

  3. Lightpurple says:

    This awesome woman had giant hearts placed on the White House lawn in the middle of the night so when reporters do their reports today, they will be standing in front of messages of love and unity.

  4. Harper says:

    I hope this takes off. It could be a game-changer for so many people. There are fantastic professional programs at community colleges in medicine, technology, design, trades, that can set someone up in a good career for life or fulfill the basic requirements to go on for a four-year degree in a much more affordable way. Let’s jump ahead ten years and I hope we are asking why it took so long to do this?

  5. GrnieWnie says:

    I got community college for free in a roundabout way. I did it in my last two years of high school, which was a program in my state. It was great in terms of education. Not so great in terms of social development. But I think anyone who is a believer in public schools as an integral part of democracy should also support free community college.

  6. mynameispearl says:

    Tell me this, does the first lady get paid for her work? I’m only asking as (with the hugely notable exception of Melanoma) these women seem to do incredible work, and leave these amazing legacies for decades to come, but I just dont get how it works money wise.

    Is there a budget they get? Or is this unpaid labour with massive perks (living in the Whitehouse, access to the best teams in the world to fulfil whatever your issue is… etc. etc).

    I’m just thinking of Ireland specifically where I’m from and the president’s partner doesnt fulfil any specific role in public life. Sabina Higgins is very charismatic, but I don’t even know who Mary McAleese, or Mary Robinsons partners were (our preceding presidents).

    Its bound to be so much pressure, I wonder do any of them absolutely hate being forced into the role. I know whatsherface hated it, (and it showed) but I wonder about the rest who actually do it really well.

    • Carol says:

      It is not a paid position and there is no real requirement for them to do anything other than the hostess-y types of things — pretty gown at events, decorate for the holidays, arrange some Easter eggs etc. As it is not an elected position, I believe there is a delicate balance to walk.

      Having said that, most first ladies see it as an honor to make an impact and pick something close to their hearts. Laura Bush was big on literacy, Michelle on proper nutrition at school etc.

      • lucy2 says:

        That’s what I never got with Melania. Even though it’s unpaid and can be pretty thankless, it’s really an opportunity to do something for a cause you care about. Why not at least try? (Unless you’re completely lazy and hate your life).

        Dr. FLOTUS is already doing a LOT, and is going to continue teaching. We’re lucky to have her.

    • Lightpurple says:

      There is no salary. The spouse gets some travel expenses covered but is not actually paid. The East Wing office of the First Lady usually has a salaried staff of about two dozen people, Melania cut it to 6 but she wasn’t doing anything. The office’s focus is primarily White House events and has also usually included the Office of Protocol, whose responsibility was to make sure government officials didn’t offend people by doing things like addressing a nation’s leader by the name of his predecessor; beginning a speech by shouting out a greeting to a crowd using the second person singular & familiar form in a foreign language instead of the proper formal plural form; using the wrong title when addressing royalty; wearing inappropriate attire when entering places of worship. Melania dismantled the Office of Protocol, which is how we ended up with Pence calling the leader of South Korea by the wrong name twice and the bad Jackie K/Bride of Betelgeuse cosplay when the Trumps met the Pope.

      • mynameispearl says:

        Holy God, why would she disband an obviously necessary office. These people were just destructive for large and small issues.

      • LightPurple says:

        Because manners, etiquette, protocol, and not offending people did not matter to the Trumps.

  7. Darla says:

    There’s an article in the WAPO that Melania is big mad over Jill’s positive reception and blames Donny for her own negative polls. And she spends hours a day at the Maralargo whatever spa. What a waste of a life.

  8. Alarmjaguar says:

    I went to a CC in CA back in the day (ok, early 90s) and it cost $67.50 a semester, so under $200 a year, and I was taking full units. It was fantastic. Plus in CA there were what were called transfer agreements with select UC or CSUs (the 4-year campuses) where if you hit a certain GPA you were automatically accepted. Or, as people noted above, the CCs had excellent trade programs for nursing, dental hygienist, plumbing, etc. I am always vocal about this because I came out of college with only about $2,000 in debt (also b/c the state legislature used to allocate a lot more to the higher ed budgets so the 4-yr schools also cost significantly less). It was a great system and should be available to everyone.

    • Skyblue says:

      I attended community college in California in the late 80s. $50 per semester. My books and parking decal cost more than my tuition. It was amazing!

    • Kkat says:

      I went to CC in California in the late 80′s to early 90′s
      I juggled it so I ended up with not only my transfer credits and double major requirements to UCI but I worked my classes so I came out of there (CC) with 5 AA degrees lol
      There is a lot of over lap in degree requirements so I just had to take a extra class here and there.
      When I started I think it was 7$ a unit, I think it was up to 12.50? By the time I transferred

      Books were the huge cost (and scam)

  9. Sayrah says:

    Even in my very red state of Tennessee, this program has been around for a while and was signed off on by a Republican governor so it can be done and should get bipartisan support!

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s awesome!
      We have it here in NJ too, and they’ve been trying to expand the program even more. Even our public/state schools have gotten incredible expensive, so anything helps. The community college in my county is pretty great, I did an art class there a while back, and it offers a lot of courses and career paths.

  10. Veronica S. says:

    Even if they just made the first two years at community colleges free, that would cut an enormous amount out of the debt problem. Here in the Northeast, schooling can get to be really expensive, even at the community level with some programs running you between $12-15K in debt. It’ll likely drive up the cost of higher ed to some extent because they’ll feel free to raise costs, but if you start raising minimum wage, those lower level degree jobs will start paying enough that demand will go down a bit for the Bachelors and Masters level fields. They should also extend it to trade schools, though I will say most colleges do have trade programs now as well, so I would think that would work out decently.

  11. Tiffany says:

    I love that they are laying for groundwork for 2022 and 2024.

    If these things are not a motivator for non voters to start voting and more people not to vote GOP, I don’t know what it.

  12. grabbyhands says:

    God it is refreshing to to see that not only is the FLOTUS hitting the ground running, but she is championing education as she does so.

    Not only is this crucial financially, but also – not everyone is wired for a four year college experience, nor do they need it. Not only do we need to get rid of the notion that school only counts if you go to an expensive four year institution, we need to get rid of the idea that only certain programs count as being worthwhile.

    Naturally we need to work on getting more students (particularly women and minority students) access and interest to STEM professions, but I would also advocate for making sure that all students are encouraged and have access to vocational courses as well. Go all the way back to high school and bring these courses back – obviously technology and science are huge components of the future, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Some people want to work with their hands in a different way and those professions need to be treated with the same respect.

  13. Lala11_7 says:

    I’m old enough to remember when POTUS Clinton pushed HARD for this…but when he lost the majority in Congress 2 years into his 8 year term…😕 😞 😌

    I hope voters FINALLY learned from Carter/Clinton/Obama of the HELL that happens when folks don’t go out in the midterms & vote against Republicans as if their lives depend on it…

    Because we now see…that it does…

    • Veronica S. says:

      The 2022 elections are honestly, in some ways, going to be even more important than 2020. If voters can’t start showing up to midterms to beat back a Republican majority, I don’t know if the situation is going to improve all that much. We simply cannot have a functioning democracy with one party that’s decided to go full fascist and another that refuses to show up to the voting booth unless excessively courted.

      • grabbyhands says:

        THIS.

        The Democrats are showing signs that they are finally starting to learn some lessons from past mistakes and this is probably the most valuable one of all to absorb – every single election counts and every voter counts and you absolutely cannot assume that your last victory is going to float you through to the next election. And most important of all, you cannot sit back and expect under represented voting blocs to come on and save everyone because once again too many people took it for granted that a win was in the bag.

  14. Lizzythe2 says:

    Community college was A LOT easier for me to pay than when I transferred for my degree. I was able to work while at my local college and live at home. I also didn’t worry about food. Four year college tuition however, is out of control. No wonder people wind up with so much debt.

  15. Lissdogmom02 says:

    Love this, I’m a community college gal, I had well paying jobs then my health (Ra) I couldn’t do the physical work, went to college & got my degree! I’m proud of myself & am gainfully employed as a result versus disability. Many other countries make college free or very inexpensive.
    I’m good with paying extra taxes so everyone can be educated, lord knows some people really need it. Lol Also I think trade schools need to be emphasized not everyone is going to be able to do college & or want to but trades pay well & learning on the job is very useful for tactile learners.