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Jill Biden: 'We're going to make sure that everyone has access to free community college'

First lady Jill BidenJill BidenJill Biden, Jennifer Garner go mask-free on vaccine-promoting West Virginia trip Masks shed at White House; McConnell: 'Free at last' First Latina since 2005 wins Teacher of the Year award MORE promised on Tuesday to ensure access to free community college and training programs for all Americans.

Biden during a recorded broadcast at a virtual event emphasized the coronavirus pandemic's effect on the economy and how access to education could help.

“We have to get this done. And we have to do it now," she said. "That's why we're going to make sure that everyone has access to free community college and training programs."

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Her comments come as student loan debt has continued to grow over the past decade. Tuition and fees at community colleges averaged around $3,730 during the 2019-2020 school year. Average tuition was approximately $10,440 for in-state students at four-year public colleges, The Associated Press reported.

Biden on Tuesday also said community colleges are no longer America's "best-kept secret," adding that "they are our most powerful engine of prosperity."

The first lady, who holds a doctorate in education and teaches at Northern Virginia Community College, has been an avid advocate for free community college education. Last year, Martha Kanter, who served as under secretary of Education in the Obama administration and who has known Biden for over a decade, confirmed that debt-free community college was a long-term goal for Biden.

 “That is what she would like to see. We have often talked about community colleges as the unsung heroes."