Biden Dumps Free Community College From Spending Bill

Biden Dumps Free Community College From Spending Bill

President Joe Biden’s plans for two years of free community college appear to have been scrapped from his “Build Back Better” spending extravaganza.
In an address to Congress back in April, Biden announced a $109 billion plan to make community college free, resurrecting a plan the Obama era that ultimately went nowhere. Biden’s plan will apparently share that fate, as it was not included in the giant-yet-nevertheless-scaled-back “framework” that the White House released this morning. Instead, he’s proposing an increase to the cap for Pell Grants by $550, putting the top possible annual grant at around the $7,000 range for the neediest students.
Dumping the plan was the right thing to do—not that the White House had much choice. Biden said on CNN this month that Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) and one other unnamed senator did not support the community college plan. So he didn’t have 50 votes for it.
To be clear: The problem is not that community colleges are bad. I attended one myself! But they’re already incredibly affordable, thanks to Pell Grants and scholarships. On average, a committed student pursuing an associate’s degree can already get two years of education without paying any tuition out of pocket.
Meanwhile, Biden’s proposal was not means-tested. Proponents insisted that making community college free would make it more accessible, but the actual effect would be to subsidize families who can already easily afford these reasonable costs.
And then there’s the matter of community college’s completion rates, which rarely gets mentioned in coverage of the issue. Only about 40 percent of community college students finish their education there within six years. That in itself is not a big flaw in the system: The flexibility of a small college system low-income people who have a lot of demands on their time to drop in and out as their life permits. But under Biden’s proposal, taxpayers would have been on the hook for the 60 percent who don’t make it—and this is on top of the extensive federal and state subsidies we’re already sending to our community colleges.
Don’t assume that mo …

Biden Dumps Free Community College From Spending Bill
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