President Biden has called free community college education in America. This will come as a welcome relief for poor and low-income students. After her divorce in 2015, Sonia Medeiros, 48, saw the need for a college degree after fruitless job searches; her Brazilian high school certification wasn’t enough. With the onset of Covid-19, things got worse and she found herself unemployed, causing her and her 13-year-old son to lack necessities. She however got some respite through her federal Pell grant that pays her tuition at LaGuardia Community College in Queens for nutrition and culinary management courses.
Over five million students from low-income families learn at the 1,000 national community colleges. Many including Ms. Medeiros are beneficiaries of the new funding being pumped to the middle income class by the higher education proposal provided in Biden’s $1.8 trillion Plan for American Families. Pell grant cash will go a long way in providing low-income learners like Ms Medeiros, with a means to meet their daily needs; this had been a hindrance to pursuing their degrees in the past. Ms. Madeiros found it tough in the past, as a single mother and student, her financial situation was dire. But thanks to the Biden plan, she has found it helpful in aiding her to complete her degree and land a lucrative job.
Its supporters see the plan as a much-needed shot in the arm for struggling college students. Critics however, do not see the logic in pumping federal funds into community colleges, they claim low-income students perform better in universities. One higher education expert thought the funds should be sent to the students who in turn would choose their preferred college. The plan sourced its funds from an increase in taxation on the rich. Over $300 billion was set to offset expenditure in community and historical minority universities. The $109 billion was to aid 5.5 million poor students access degrees. Some of these colleges had seen a drop in enrolment of up to 10% and a loss of up to 20% of their student population. The proposal does not however touch on student debt erasing, the matter is however still in review, and is seen as not popular with the Republicans. The plan targets families earning less than $125,000 in order to avoid flooding the minority colleges. Also targeted are the” Dreamers” who consist mainly of undocumented immigrants and their families. The plan is deemed as bold and has similarities to Obama’s proposal. The plan is however deemed timely and a welcome relief to struggling college students.