Jill Biden is the advocate community college needs

Dr+Jill+Biden+has+been+active+in+emphasizing+the+importance+of+higher+education+

Mark Lambie, El Paso Times

Dr Jill Biden has been active in emphasizing the importance of higher education

Kaitlin Clapinski, News Editor

There is no doubt that college students across the United States are falling into a dark abyss of student debt loans. Education has become an industry, where students shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for their degree and spend years trying to pay it off. Student debt loan forgiveness policy is seen by Republicans as just one of the Democrats’ “socialist” ideas, and while the new President-elect is a centrist at best, I am hopeful, not just because of Joe Biden, but because of Dr. Jill Biden.

Jill Biden is bringing education back to the forefront of conversation in the White House. The soon-to-be first lady made headlines these past weeks announcing she will continue teaching throughout her time in Washington D.C. She will be one of the first of first ladies to continue a career outside of the White House as an English teacher at Northern Virginia Community College. Not only that, her dedicated cause will be centered around education specifically promoting free tuition in community colleges. 

While the concept of free tuition through the California Promise Program is not explicitly new, only 17 out of 50 states offer free tuition within community colleges. Free tuition programs across the United States, in community colleges specifically, will make the idea of a college education a reality for some. And while this plan is not as aggressive in battling the price of education as some would like, it’s certainly a step in the right direction especially in the sense of advocating for community colleges.

Community college is not seen as a conventionally glamorous option. However, it is dependable. Working parents rely on community colleges to receive an education that is flexible for them. Those in older generations can continue to inform themselves through local community college classes. Most importantly, those who may not have been able to see a college education as a reality are able to do so within the means of community colleges. Community college is essential, Jill Biden knows that, and can hopefully be a part of major change in the conversation surrounding the cost of higher education.  

Jill Biden is known for her passion for public education, but also the empathy and understanding she holds for students in higher education. Her doctoral dissertation was centered around student retention in community colleges. She will be the voice that students so desperately need in the White House as she has not only an intimate understanding of their challenges and expectations, but also she is highly versed in policymaking. 

Putting student voices in the midst of policy making strategies will be instrumental in changing the cost of higher education. However, from working with students first hand, she also is aware of the many other aspects with which students are challenged — mental health, healthcare, transportation, and finances. 

With a Democratic house, and a chance to turn back the Senate in January with run-off elections, policy making will be (optimistically) in the favor of the new coming democratic administration. Although Joe Biden is not the progressive many asked for, Jill Biden may be able to provide a glimmer of hope. With her impressive career in teaching, and knowledge of community college students and its functionality, I can confidently say that positive change is on the horizon.