Hillary Clinton: I support free community college, too

Stresses that affordability isn't just about tuition

In a campaign stop at an Iowa community college, Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for President Obama's proposal to provide free community college, but said the problem of college affordability was larger than tuition.

Obama's plan for free community college draws praise and concern

Clinton, who announced her run for the White House on Sunday, visited Kirkwood Community College Tuesday.

During a roundtable discussion at the school, Clinton said "I fully support President Obama's plan to make community college free." However, she noted that for many students, tuition is only one barrier to an affordable education.

Clinton specified that Pell Grants already cover the cost of tuition for most community college students, but other expenses like books and transportation costs could be potential areas for government assistance. "A lot of students are working or are single parents and they have all these other expenses," she said.

What 'free community college' may mean for four-year colleges

Clinton also discussed problems in the for-profit education sector. She noted that many students who enroll in for-profit programs leave without a credential and significant student debt. Clinton said she hoped to "flush out the bad actors" in the for-profit sector.

Ultimately, Clinton concluded she wanted college to be "affordable and open for everybody willing to work for it" (Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/15; Inside Higher Ed, 4/15).

The takeaway: Hillary Clinton says she supports president Obama's proposal to make community college tuition free, but stressed students face other financial barriers beyond tuition that she would seek to address.

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