Hillary Clinton said community college should be free during a roundtable with students in Iowa on Tuesday.
“I fully support President Obama’s plan to make community college free,” the newly announced presidential contender said at Kirkwood Community College, the first official stop of her campaign.
Clinton, who is casting the first part of her campaign as a listening tour to get to know “everyday Americans,” said she also wants to reduce peripheral higher education costs, such as books and room and board.
“Some people have told me that becomes a bigger problem,” she said.
The Democratic frontrunner praised Kirkwood, which has forged partnerships with high schools and four-year universities to ease students’ pathway to a degree.
Without specifically naming the for-profit college sector, Clinton added that she hopes to “flesh out the bad actors,” referring to schools that take advantage of students.
“We need a new vision,” she said, “of how we’re going to do education that can get people excited again.”
As Secretary of State, Clinton was able to avoid commenting too specifically on education policy and the roundtable gave a glimpse at where she stands on a few issues.
She acknowledged the frustration surrounding the controversial No Child Left Behind policy, saying, “There were a lot of goals that were important there, but I think we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work so well.”
Responding to one roundtable participant’s comment that she found it painful to see the Common Core principles attacked, Clinton placed a hand over her heart and said, “That is a powerful, touching comment that I absolutely embrace.”
“We need to try to get back into a broad conversation where people will actually listen to each other again and try to come up with solutions to problems,” she said.