President Barrack Obama, while in office, pitched Congress and the American public on the idea to make community college free. His then-deputy and current president, Joe Biden, will attempt to pitch the same proposal in his first appearance in front of Congress.
What’s different this time around?
Supporters of the proposal are more confident that although it did not catch on when Obama was president, it has better chances now. They believe that there have been a few political and ground changes that would essentially sway the policy makers’ decisions.
However, the bill is still set to face a rough path t success if it will pass. The most anticipated obstacle is the rather usual Capitol Hill heated debates and questions on the federal government’s role in higher education.
The president’s proposal includes $109 billion for two years of community college. The American Families Plan also intends to chip in with a $62 billion investment in evidence-based completion and retention rates at community colleges and higher education institutions. Jill Biden, first lady and a community college professor herself, confirms that her husband is ready to fulfill one of his 2020 campaign promises and provide free community college for Americans.
Max Lubin, CEO of Rise, an organization fighting for affordable college education, says that Biden’s advocacy for free community college can be traced back to the Obama administration. He adds that the only thing that’s different now is that people are aware of the president’s proposal.
Who’s in power?
One big difference between now and when Obama pitched the policy is who holds the majority in Congress. Michelle Miller-Adams, a researcher at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, comments that Obama pitched the idea to a Republican Congress. The Republicans were dead set on turning down anything Obama tabled without even listening to it. The situation is different now with a much higher number of Democrats in Congress.