(NEXSTAR) – President Joe Biden is laying out a second major spending proposal of his young administration on Wednesday, and the plan could fundamentally change the college prospects for American students by offering tuition-free community college.
To mark 100 days in office, Biden is pitching a reported $1.8 trillion investment in education, childcare and family safety nets in a bill called the American Families Plan. The proposal includes a number of new financial benefits for families, including extended tax cuts for parents and universal free preschool. But for older students, the real win could come in the form of free community college courses. Here’s what we know about the proposal.
Of the $1.8 trillion bill, $109 billion would be targeted at community college for all Americans.
The free tuition would be available to undocumented students who were brought to the U.S. as children, according to the Associated Press.
Students can use the benefit over three years, and in certain, unspecified circumstances, up to four years.
If every state, territory and Tribe participates, about 5.5 million students would pay $0 in tuition and fees, the White House said.
In a White House fact sheet on the proposed spending, the administration promised additional spending to help level the playing field for disadvantaged students.
“Recognizing that access to postsecondary education is not enough, the American Families Plan includes $62 billion to invest in evidence-based strategies to strengthen completion and retention rates at community colleges and institutions that serve students from our most disadvantaged communities,” Biden administration officials wrote.
The plan would also specifically devote $39 billion to subsidize two years of tuition at historically Black four-year colleges and minority-serving institutions, according to the New York Times.
The money, the Times said, “would be available to students from families earning less than $125,000…to make sure federal community college funding does not siphon students to community colleges” who may have otherwise attended a minority college.
The proposal also calls for increases in Pell Grants used to support higher education for low-income students who would otherwise have to borrow the funds.
The new spending would be paid for through a series of tax increases on the wealthy that would raise about $1.5 trillion over a decade.