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Biden’s Proposals for Higher Education

Since his inauguration, President Joe Biden has started making changes. Within hours of being sworn in, Biden signed 17 executive actions, which is a new record. Throughout his campaign, Biden spoke of some radical ideas to employ upon becoming the president. When it comes to college students, he has some progressive plans of action for tuition costs. So, what does that mean for you?


Community Colleges


To start off, Biden wants to make college more affordable. Many Americans want to pursue higher education, but it’s not feasible. One of Biden’s proposals originated in 2015 when he was the vice president. The proposal is to make two years of community college free. After two years, students can transfer to another college if they wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Many people want to know how the nation could afford this. For this proposal, there will be a federal-state partnership. The federal government would cover 75 percent of the costs, and states would cover the remaining 25 percent. 


New grants will also be created for community colleges in the hopes of giving the students a better education. In addition to that, Biden hopes to see a decrease in the number of students dropping out of college. He plans to make a way for Pell grants and other student financial aids to be used for more than just tuition. Biden also wants to give states financial incentives to get community organizations more involved within community colleges to provide more support to the students.


Biden wants to use $50 billion to make internships, apprenticeships and high-quality training programs better. He wants to create partnerships between schools and businesses to give students more opportunities and give businesses more workers. He wants to invest an additional $8 billion in community colleges for technology and upkeep.


College Degree = Road to Middle Class


One of Biden’s biggest moves to help middle income and low-income families is the proposal to make public colleges and universities free for families that make less than $125 thousand every year. This directly affects Penn State students since it is, in fact, a public university. What would this mean for Penn State? Would the university make enough money with a large portion of tuition missing? Only time would be able to tell. Public schools are equipped to function without tuition, so universities should be capable as well.


Biden is also looking to increase the threshold of Pell grants. He wants to double the maximum amount allowed per individual. His website says that this is a necessary step to closing the rift between the rich and the poor. When that gap is closed, everyone will have an equal opportunity to get an education after high school. In addition to those revisions of the Pell grant, Biden also wants DREAMers and formerly incarcerated students to be eligible for the grant.


Another part of Biden’s plan is to change how student loans need to be paid off. Individuals earning less than $25 thousand per year won’t have to make any payments for federal undergraduate student loans. Plus the loans won’t collect interest. All other people will pay 5 percent of their income, minus taxes and essential expenses. For the people who have made their payments “responsibly” for 20 years, the rest of their student debt will be forgiven.


People working in schools, government or other non-profit workplaces will receive ten thousand dollars of student debt relief per year (for up to five years). This would be from the new and improved Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Biden wants to fix this program because he understands that it is important to recognize how much people who devote service through work help our country.


Biden wants to make it quicker and easier for students to receive the credentials they need to join the workforce. He also wants to prioritize the effectiveness of work-study funds for real work and service roles that correlate with a student’s interest. Furthermore, he would like colleges to stop getting incentives for overcharging students for a subpar education. Some schools only care about money, and Biden wants that to end. Biden wants to forgive student loans when a person goes bankrupt. If this doesn’t happen, then private loan companies would be profiteering off of these people.


Support Minority Serving Institutions


Historically black colleges and universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other Minority Serving Institutions will not be left out of Biden’s agenda. He wants to make attending these schools more affordable as well. He hopes to upgrade the technology within these colleges to make sure the best possible research can be completed. Minority Serving Institutions have been known to get much less funding than public schools. Biden wants to decrease these differences in funding. 


Another great proposal includes investing in the diverse talent that can be found in Minority Serving Institutions. People in these minority groups can have the answers to some of the biggest problems that our country has not solved. It can be hard for Minority Serving Institutions to really broadcast their research findings because they are “smaller” and “lesser-known” schools. With new centers of excellence, opinions will be able to be shared and broadcasted much easier. Biden also wants to create new career pathways for graduates of Minority Serving Institutions, especially in fields with less diversity.


In general, it seems like Biden wants higher education to be more accessible, affordable and equal. He wants college students to have more support and opportunities at hand. Today, we often find ourselves in the same income bracket as our parents. If a person is born into a low income family, the person is more likely to remain in the low income bracket as an adult. If these proposals go through, it will even the playing field by ensuring that anyone can attend and afford college.




Carlee is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations. She loves listening to music and attending (accessible) concerts. She takes pride in being a member of the disabled community. Her life goal is to help end some of the stigmas surrounding the disabled community. She does this through writing, speaking at events, and even making videos on TikTok. You can find her TikTok @CarleeWithTwoEs.
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