Biden hints at possible free community college during SOTU after previously taking it off the table

Daily Caller News Foundation

President Joe Biden advocated for two-year free community college during his State of the Union (SOTU) address given Tuesday night from the U.S. Capitol grounds, despite having taken it off the table last year.

Biden promised two years of free community college while on the campaign trail ahead of the 2020 presidential election, however this promise appeared to fall flat last year when it was not included in the Build Back Better bill, the New York Times reported. He briefly revisited the plan while touting the administration’s education agenda.

“Let’s finish the job and connect students to career opportunities starting in high school and provide access to two years of community college, some of the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree,” Biden said. “Let’s offer every American the path to a good career whether they go to college or not.”

First Lady Jill Biden addressed community college leaders February 2022 and confirmed that the plan would be tabled, the NYT reported.

“One year ago, I told this group that Joe, my husband Joe, was going to fight for community colleges,” she reportedly said during the Community College National Legislative Summit. “But Joe 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.”

Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022 after Build Back Better failed to garner enough bipartisan support, Politico reported. Two years of free community college was not included.

Biden briefly mentioned the administration’s work to lower student debt and increase Pell Grants during Tuesday night’s speech.

“And we’re making progress by reducing student debt and increasing Pell Grants for working- and middle-class families,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Education recently unveiled a new Income Driven Repayment Plan (IDRP) which would lower repayments for student loan borrowers. A massive Congressional spending bill passed in December increased the maximum amount given to Pell Grant borrowers by $500.

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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