President Biden campaigned on the promise to reduce student debt and the cost of higher education – two factors that keep many borrowers from saving for retirement, buying a home, or paying off other debt . The cost of college has triple over the past 20 years, with an annual growth rate of 6.8%. The Biden administration aims to make higher education more accessible, even free in specific situations, for students from all socio-economic backgrounds.
Key takeaways: Biden’s proposals
- 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 to make college more affordable for some students
Making college affordable for low- and middle-income families was identified as one of Biden’s goals during the campaign due to the rising cost of college education. the Biden plan for education beyond high school states that “in the increasingly globalized and technology-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and earn a middle-class income.”
In Biden’s plan, students attending community college would not be responsible for paying tuition fees for the first two years, and if the student or the student’s family earns less than $ 125,000 per year, the Tuition would be free at a public university or college.
Although community college costs less than a standard four-year institution, it is not affordable for all students. The cost of community college has increased by 46% over the past 20 years, 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 is currently 17 US states which offer free community college programs for students who meet state-specific eligibility requirements.
Biden will most likely go through Congress for legislation
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 university program is more likely now than it has been in recent memory,” Vasconcelos adds.
Getting this into law, however, will still be a challenge, with Republicans historically opposing student loan forgiveness and free college proposals. “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 doing more affordable college, you have options. Ask what you can 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.