The Biden administration’s program to make community college tuition-free will not become a reality in this round of the president’s spending priorities, leaving progressive groups disappointed.

Both progressive and moderate Democrats confirmed to NPR that two free years of community college — a major Biden priority — will likely not make it in a final package of key progressive priorities. Other higher education provisions included in the original bill — like expansion of Pell Grants for low-income students, money for college completion and vocational programs — are still on the table.

Biden had hinted last week that the free community college program would be omitted from the final bill.

“I don’t know of any major change in American public policy that’s occurred by a single piece of legislation,” Biden said. “I doubt whether we’ll get the entire funding for community colleges, but I’m not going to give up on community colleges as long as I’m president.”

Progressive organizations say they are disappointed and frustrated.

“We aren’t giving up,” says Max Lubin, a graduate student who leads Rise, a student-run progressive advocacy organization. “We endorsed Biden on the basis of his free tuition plans, and we believe abandoning it would be a major liability in the midterms.”

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