author

Author: Don Obrien

Tuition-Free Community College Out Of Biden’s Plan—But Larger Student Financial Aid Grants Are Still In


Topline

The White House revealed Thursday that it had dropped a plan to provide two years of tuition-free community college, a central tenet of the Democratic Party’s education ambitions, from their new social spending proposal in a massive round of cost cuts, but several other initiatives, including an annual grant boost for more than 5 million students, are still on the table—here’s what they are. 

Key Facts

As part of President Joe Biden’s new $1.85 trillion spending plan, roughly $40 billion has been allocated toward higher education, the White House announced Thursday, marking a significant decline from about $111 billion in an August proposal.

In addition to nixing tuition-free community college, Democrats downsized their plans to double annual Pell grants, which are awarded to undergraduates based on financial need, but they’re still looking to raise the maximum grant of $6,495 by $550 for the more than 5 million students enrolled in college.

Though lawmakers have yet to decide on specific amounts, they’ve kept provisions to dole out funds to historically black universities, tribal colleges and other minority-serving institutions for financial aid and research investments.

According to a White House statement, the framework will also increase the Labor Department’s annual spending on workforce development at the community-college level, currently about $150 million, by 50% for each of the next five years.

Key Background

Democrats’ slimmed-down education plans follow months of tense intra-party negotiations, particularly to appease moderate senators worried about heightened fiscal spending during the pandemic. Despite the Senate narrowly passing a budget blueprint for the package in August, party leaders have struggled to temper concerns from moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who’s long insisted he preferred a $1.5 trillion package, and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Before the latest round of cuts, Democrats abandoned discussions to include expanded student loan forgiveness in the package to help muster up support for the August vote.

Tangent

Though tuition-free community college fell out of Democrats’ spending proposal, Biden has still pledged to push for the measure through during his term. “I’m going to get it done, and if I don’t, I’ll be sleeping alone for a long time,” Biden, whose wife Jill Biden is an English professor at a Virginia community college, said in a town hall last week. 

What We Don’t Know

It’s still unclear whether enough Democrats are on board with Biden’s plan for it to ultimately pass in the evenly split Senate. The two biggest holdouts, Manchin and Sinema, released statements Thursday praising “significant progress” on the plan and the “good faith” negotiations, but stopping short of voicing their support for the plan.

Further Reading

Biden Unveils New Social Spending Proposal—Here’s What Remains After $2 Trillion In Cuts (Forbes)



Source link

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Oliver Bolt

Oliver Bolt

On Key

Related Posts