Biden’s Free Community College Proposal Could Save You $ 6,000
President Joe Biden continues to prioritize student loan forgiveness and cheaper higher education as the cost of college education in America continues to rise. In his latest proposal – the American Families Plan – he plans to pave the way for two years of free community college. With the state’s average annual community college tuition cost hovering around $ 3,340, this measure could potentially save borrowers over $ 6,000 in tuition fees.
In addition to the policies outlined in the U.S. Family Plan, the Biden administration has proposed several ways to make higher education more accessible, even free in specific situations, for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Key takeaways: Biden’s free college offers
- Free tuition at public universities or colleges for families with an annual income of less than $ 125,000.
- Free tuition for the first two years of community college.
- Invest in grants to underfunded HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs.
- Double the value of Pell Grants.
Biden seeks two-year free community college
The cost of college has tripled over the past 20 years, with an annual growth rate of 6.8%. Making college affordable for low- and middle-income families is a big part of America’s family plan and a campaign goal for President Biden. The Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School states that “in the increasingly globalized and tech-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and earn a living income. the middle class”.
In its latest proposal, students attending community college would not be responsible for paying tuition fees for the first two years. According to a recent White House press release, if all states and territories participated, approximately 5.5 million students would benefit.
Although community college costs less than a standard four-year institution, it is not affordable for all students. The cost of community colleges has increased 46% over the past 20 years, with the average annual cost of tuition and fees for a full-time student in the district averaging $ 3,730. Alleviating even a part of that price can encourage students to go to university when they never saw it as a possibility.
The notion of a free community college is not a new idea; There are currently 17 states in the United States that offer free community college programs for students who meet state-specific eligibility criteria.
A tuition-free public college is also a possibility
A tuition-free public college for eligible students was included in Biden’s plan for education beyond high school, but was not mentioned in the most recent U.S. plan for families. If this becomes law, families with an annual income of less than $ 125,000 will have access to free education at a public college or university.
This was a foundational higher education proposal in his presidential campaign, but Biden has since focused on providing a free community college for all students, rather than a free public college for those who qualify. That said, future legislation for four-year colleges is not out of place.
What is the likelihood of a free college?
For legislation to pass, one of two things must happen: either President Biden must pass an executive order, or the bill must go through Congress. Biden said he was more likely to go through Congress because he had limited power when it came to reducing the cost of college education.
“Orders in Council can be used to modify the delivery of existing federal programs, but a free college program would require an act of Congress,” says Shannon Vasconcelos, director of university finance at Bright Horizons College Coach. “With democratic control of the House and Senate, the prospect of some sort of free college program is more likely now than it has been in recent memory.
However, it will still be a challenge to get this into law, as the two parties are currently divided on the issue. “As long as the filibuster remains in place, a free college proposal would likely require Democrats’ unanimity and at least some Republican support, and that can be a challenge to verify,” she said.
Students should always prepare for tuition fees
When it comes to free or discounted college proposals, keep in mind that even if they do become a reality, the perks are unlikely to apply to all families. Therefore, it is imperative that families do not rely on potential legislation, says Joe DePaulo, CEO and co-founder of College Ave Student Loans. “In order not to get ‘caught in the rain’ with four years (or more) of college expenses, the best bet is for families to keep saving and making a solid plan on how to cover the cost of a degree. university. “
This is especially true as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. A recent College Ave student loan survey found that among those planning to help their child pay for college, 52% said the pandemic will make paying for college more difficult this fall.
When it comes to making college more affordable, you have options. Ask for what you can in federal aid and be on the lookout for grants and scholarships offered by your school. If you are applying for private student loans, shop around to make sure you get a competitive rate.