March 23, 2023

Expanding Education, From Pre-K to College


Since the start of his campaign, Joe Biden has been a strong advocate for expanding education. If elected president, he plans to make it easier and more affordable for all Americans to go to college. His plan includes three major components: making community colleges tuition-free, ensuring that low-income students can attend pre-K through college debt free, and ending pay discrimination against women who work in traditionally female jobs.

Biden’s plan is to make community college tuition-free for all students . He announced his plan to make two years of community college education totally free during a speech on May 19th. Biden plans to pay for the plan by taxing Wall Street investment advisors.

According to Biden’s website, his plan is to partner with states and expand the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) — a tax credit already available — by making it refundable and allowing students to use it for non-tuition expenses like books and supplies. States will be encouraged to contribute matching funds so that students will have a stake in their education and share responsibility for its cost.

In terms of what this means, the AOTC is a tax credit worth up to $2,500 per year per student. Students with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) below $180,000 can claim 40% of the credit on their federal income tax return. Students can receive the remainder of the credit in the form of a refundable tax credit—meaning if they don’t owe enough in taxes to claim the full amount, they get money back on their student loans—for an additional 20%. The Biden campaign claims that this expansion would, “make it easier for students who are already working multiple jobs and taking classes to get the aid they need.

Biden’s second major component of his plan is ensuring that college — or, in this case, all higher education—is debt free. In a speech on June 10th, Biden outlined his plans for the next administration to,make four-year public college debt-free for all students and their families. Biden plans on doing this by investing $5.3 billion annually in Title IV dollars to prioritize low-income students and those pursuing high cost degrees like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Biden would also make all community college programs free for all students willing to work ten hours per week to help pay for their education. Biden plans on fully funding Pell Grants through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act—the same bill he introduced when he was in the Senate—while increasing funding for TRIO, GEAR-UP, IASA, ACICS, and HBCUs. Finally, Biden would allow graduates to refinance their loans through the federal government and provide full debt relief for all post-graduate students.

Biden’s third major component of the expansion plan is to end pay discrimination against women who work in traditionally female jobs. According to his website, Biden will expand enforcement of equal pay laws for women on federally contracted jobs, particularly in manufacturing and service industries. Biden would also establish a task force of experts dedicated exclusively to reforming the Equal Pay Act.