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February 16, 2017

Higher education officials say the Trump Administration's views on community colleges are still largely unknown, after Betsy DeVos made her first major speech since being confirmed as Secretary of Education.

In her confirmation hearings, DeVos dismissed the idea of tuition-free community college, saying “nothing in life is truly free.” Beyond that, she has said little about two-year institutions.

Speaking before the Association of Community College Trustees in Washington on Thursday, DeVos praised the institutions for being "nimble, inclusive and entrepreneurial."

“Community colleges are a uniquely American national asset,” DeVos told a crowd filled with community college presidents. “You provide important and valued pathways for students to prepare for success in this competitive economy. You equip students for high-demand fields and skilled jobs that help grow local economies and maintain communities.”

She also said community colleges will work closely with business partners and play an important role in advancing the Trump administration's goal of creating jobs.

While those words may be reassuring, two community college leaders told WGBH News the Secretary offered few details and they aren't any closer to knowing where she stands on key issues.

You can read the Secretary’s full remarks here and watch her confirmation hearing below.

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