Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) may not support free college for all like some more left-leaning 2020 presidential contenders, but she does think certain one- and two-year community college programs could realistically be offered for free.
Speaking on Saturday at the Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, which was co-sponsored by HuffPost, Klobuchar outlined some of her ideas about higher education, including college loan reforms and making certain programs more accessible.
“When I look at the jobs that are available right now, out there, we have a lot of job openings in areas that could use a one-year degree, a two-year degree, and we’re just not filling those jobs,” said Klobuchar, who entered the crowded presidential field in mid-February.
According to Klobuchar, such an initiative would be particularly beneficial to young people in rural areas.
“Part of this would be an economic imperative, but the other part of it is, there are a lot of kids that just go off the grid, and a lot of kids that could work in rural jobs, and if we can get them started in that way, and they can later get another degree, they can later go on to complete the four-year degree,” Klobuchar said.
She added: “That’s what my own sister did. She didn’t graduate high school. She came down to Iowa, worked in manufacturing for years then got her two-year degree, then got her four-year degree, and is now gainfully employed as an accountant. There are many paths to success in the United States of America.”
Klobuchar previously dismissed the idea of free college for all as a commendable but unrealistic proposal.
“If I was a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, I would,” she said at a CNN town hall in February.
The idea of free college for all has been espoused by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is also vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Klobuchar has long voiced support for other ways to make college more affordable, however, such as implementing what she calls the “Buffett Rule,” or the idea that America’s wealthiest would provide the funding needed for students.