WASHINGTON — Dr. Jill Biden, the incoming first lady, plans to advocate for debt-free community college once she moves into the White House in January, according to a report.
“That is what she would like to see. We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes,” Dr. Martha Kanter, who served as an under secretary of education in the Obama administration, told Yahoo News.
The soon-to-be first lady also plans to push for other key aspects of the education platform that her husband, President-elect Joe Biden, announced during his campaign.
Jill Biden has spent much of her career teaching at the community college level and intends to keep working as a college professor at Northern Virginia Community College. It would make her the only first lady to keep her day job outside the home.
"Teaching is my life’s work," Jill Biden said in a statement posted on Twitter by her spokesperson. "I teach because I love seeing the difference that I hope to make in my students’ lives. My goal is to always give them confidence in their own abilities because I know confidence will carry them well beyond my classroom in whatever they do."
At least 17 states have established programs that make community college tuition-free for qualifying students, according to Forbes.
Overall, president-elect Biden has said he wants to make public colleges and universities free for families that earn less than $125,000 a year. His education plan would expand existing loan forgiveness programs, and he has backed proposals to cancel $10,000 in federal student debt for all borrowers as part of a coronavirus relief effort.
Free college has been proposed in a variety of forms as a way to make higher education affordable for all Americans. Dozens of versions have been implemented in cities and states across the U.S., and calls for a federal program gained momentum during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
Biden's plan was adopted from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a prominent advocate for free college. The proposal, which would require action by Congress, calls on the federal government to partner with states to split the cost.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.