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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden supports new Sauk Valley Community College program

The program would allow high school students to earn up to three years of free schooling by completing 100 hours of community service.

DIXON, Ill. — First Lady Dr. Jill Biden shared her vision for higher education in Dixon Monday, April 19 sharing her plans for higher education.

"There's no greater investment than in education," she said at Sauk Valley Community College, "... so all Americans can go to community college, get the support they need, and get better jobs."

She added that investment couldn't come at a better time. Community colleges have seen a ten percent decline in enrollment since the coronavirus pandemic started. Now the American Rescue Plan is sending $40 billion to those schools. Sauk Valley says they'll be getting some of the money to help offset the impact of COVID, such as reduced income and providing grants for students.

Dr. Biden also touted the America's College Promise which aims to make two years at community colleges free. Sauk Valley Community College says they're working with this program to start their own Impact Program.

The Impact Program will give high school students in select counties three years free at the college. They have to enroll as freshmen and complete 25 hours of community service every year to be eligible.

"We could really get a lot of those younger students and get them out here, make a difference in their life and in the community," Vincent says.

Dr. Biden said making college affordable is a crucial way to boost the economy and make a brighter future for all Americans.

"Families with good-paying jobs can invest in local schools and shops, and businesses can grow their operations," she said.

The Impact Program could start as early as this fall at Sauk Valley.