Biden proposes making community college free for all Americans

Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden outlined his plan Wednesday to provide two years of free community college for all Americans.

The plan would cost $109 billion. The president proposes paying for it, in part, by closing loopholes around wealthy Americans’ income.

How it would work

Students would be able to use the benefit for up to four years of part-time enrollment or two years of full-time enrollment in a community college.

Dreamers and workers who want to re-enroll in school for new skills also qualify for free community college tuition under Biden’s proposal.

“President Biden’s plan will expand access to affordable post-secondary education, laying the groundwork for innovation and inclusive economic growth for all Americans,” senior White House administration officials said.

This proposal fulfills one of Biden’s campaign promises in which he said he would make provide access to two years of community college or other high-quality training.

Other college financial aid in Biden’s plan

The plan outlines other funding proposals to broaden education access by increasing Pell Grant funding, funding efforts to grow college completion rates, and subsidize tuition for two years HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), TCUs (Tribal Colleges or Universities) and MSIs (Minority-Serving Institution).

Pell Grants

Biden’s plan would increase the size of an available Pell Grant by $1,400 and allow Dreamers to access federal aid.

Senior White House administration officials stated that this would be a huge financial boost for low-income Americans since one in three community college students receive a Pell Grant.

College retention

For improving college retention, Biden proposes $62 billion in grants for colleges that serve low-income communities, especially community colleges. The goal will be to develop specialized solutions that help bring the retention rate closer to 100%.

HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs

The plan also expands federal funding at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs with $7 billion in additional grants, $2 billion of which is to increase health care education access.

For students interested in attending an HBCU, TCU or MSI, the plan allocated $39 billion for two years of subsidized education for families earn less than $125,000.

What it doesn’t include

Biden’s plan does not go as far as proposals by his fellow Democrats.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) recently proposed free community college as well as free four-year degrees for those with families making under $125,000. Their plan would also raise the Pell Grant to $13,000.

The plan also does not include mention of forgiving student loans, although the Biden administration is considering forgiving up to $10,000 in debt.


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