Jill Biden visits Queens to promote free community college
by Patrick Kearns
Nov 10, 2015 | 6917 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. Jill Biden, a college professor and the wife of United States Vice President Joe Biden, visited Long Island City last week to tell LaGuardia Community College students about Heads Up America, the Obama Administration's plan to make community college free to all Americans who work for it.

The presentation, and subsequent open house, was held to showcase to prospective students of all ages what a community college can offer to them at a lower cost than a four-year program.

“For those of you who are unsure about going to college, I hope that you will leave here today feeling a little bit more optimistic about your options,” said Biden. “I also hope that you'll consider going to a community college like LaGuarda, which has the flexibility and innovation to meet students needs. Community college can offer you an affordable route to a four-year college and a good-paying job.”

The goal of Head's Up America, which was first introduced as a concept by President Barack Obama in January 2015, would allow responsible students earn the first half of a bachelor's degree at no cost.

The concept has grown at a local level. Both Tennessee and Chicago have existing plans to offer students free community college, and in 2015 legislators in 11 other states proposed similar programs.

The open house was one of 80 across the nation being held this fall to showcase a community college education.

“You're here giving community college another look, and that's great,” Biden told a room full of high school students from Energy Tech High School, International High School and Middle College High School, as well as some older Queens residents looking at possibly enrolling.

LaGuardia Community College students Rachel Chambers, whose mother is also a graduate of the school, addressed the crowd. She's an advocate for the school, but also one of the faces of the Obama Administration's Heads Up Campaign, where she appeared alongside actor and comedian Louis CK in a public service announcement.

“I made a good decision by coming to LaGuardia because I'm finally tapping into my full potential,” said Chambers. “Education is important and I think that a lot of people don't pursue it because they can't afford it.”

Chambers encouraged everyone to sign up at Head's Up america's website to show their support for free community college. If the movement succeeds, she explained, students can set their sights on a career or a four-year college without stressing over debt and student loans.

After the presentation, all prospective students were invited to the open house, where they were provided information on the roles that LaGuardia Community College plays in the community, as well as information on local internships and career advice.

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