First Lady Jill Biden announces tuition-free college is off the table


Moorpark College 1961 Logo on a steel plaque behind Fountain Hall on Feb. 17, 2022. Photo credit: David Chavez

By Andres Garcia

On Feb. 7, the First Lady of the United States Jill Biden stated that plans to provide two years of tuition-free community college for Americans is no longer a part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.

During his campaign, Biden stated that one of his main goals during his presidency was to provide college students with free education.

While many viewed the first lady’s recent announcement as disappointing, others were relieved. Opposers to the bill have called it too expensive and even harmful to the American people.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, stated that the bill would create more harm than good. Manchin asserted that there are more pressing matters at hand which need to be addressed first.

“The cost is upwards of 4.5 trillion which is more than double what the bill’s ardent supporters have claimed,” said Manchin. “I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt at more than 29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real.”

Many students at Moorpark College expressed their disappointment at hearing that tuition-free community college is no longer a component of Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

Amare Brown, a first-year student at Moorpark College, felt that he was lied to by the Biden administration.

“I feel disappointed because it was one of the goals that Joe was pushing to reach during his election race,” said Brown. “It was actually one of the main reasons why I was siding with Biden in election and it makes me feel lied to.”

Others at Moorpark College found the elimination of tuition-free community college from Biden’s agenda to be unsurprising.

Adrian Carreno, a second-year student at Moorpark College, stated that he never expected much change to happen in the educational sector of the country but also expressed that free college would have been a step in the right direction.

“I never expected much when it came to changing education,” said Carreno. “It would’ve been nice to see free community college as it can help students. At least on the bright side, our taxes shouldn’t rise with it becoming free.”

Students were not the only ones reacting to the first lady’s news as faculty members expressed their feelings as well.

Medical screener at Moorpark College Giancarlo Meccia stated that tuition-free community college never was a realistic goal for the Biden administration.

“The idea that college was ever going to be free was completely off the table,” said Meccia. “Community college and any other type of public education are always made possible by the taxpayers of the state. Joe Biden had some great goals during his campaign but realistically, I think we all knew that free education was not going to happen.”

The Build Back Better bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 19, 2021. Since then, it has faced an uphill battle in the Senate. As of Feb. 15, the bill has been declared dead.