Biden plan: Free community college, expanded loan programs





Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to make community and technical college free and federal college loan programs more generous as he charts a policy course that shifts leftward.

The former vice president's $750 billion higher education plan represents a major expansion of the federal government's role in educating Americans beyond high school. But Biden's pitch Tuesday is not as sweeping as proposals from his more progressive 2020 rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom offer plans exceeding the $1 trillion mark.

The competing approaches reflect Democrats' efforts to address spiking tuition costs in the United States and the $1.5 trillion-plus in student debt held by about 45 million Americans. The party's education policy divide is similar to the gap that separates Biden from the two progressive senators on health care, with the former vice president proposing to expand the federal government's role in the existing health insurance market, while Warren and Sanders propose a single-payer insurance system that would see the federal government essentially replace private insurance altogether.

Jill Biden, the candidate's wife and a longtime community college professor, explained her husband's approach.

"My students inspire me," she said in a conference call with reporters, "and they ask for one thing in return: opportunity."

The crux of Biden's higher education plan is a federal-state partnership to cover community college tuition and technical training. Biden calls for the federal government to cover 75 percent of the tuition costs, with states covering the rest. That's a similar financing concept to the Medicaid insurance program for the poor and the disabled, with states required to cover some costs to qualify for federal money to cover the majority of the program.

Biden proposes that the federal government cover 95 percent of the community college tuition cost at Native Americans' tribal campuses.

Sanders and Warren propose universal, free access to all undergraduate public colleges and universities.

On student debt, Biden's more limited approach calls for doubling the Pell Grant program for low-income Americans and cutting in half the income percentage caps on student loan repayments. Borrowers now must pay up to 10 percent of their discretionary income. Biden calls for capping payments at 5 percent of discretionary income, while also delaying payments for anyone making less than $25,000, with the borrower accruing no additional interest.

Biden's plan would forgive any remaining debt after 20 years of payments and would allow borrowers to get out of their debts as part of personal bankruptcy.

Sanders, conversely, proposes eliminating all student loan debt, while Warren calls for broad debt relief based on income. Warren's idea would cancel $50,000 in debt for each person with household income under $100,000, with additional proportional relief for those making up to $250,000 annually.

Biden and Warren have another noticeable split on for-profit colleges, which have come under scrutiny because their graduates have a much higher default rate on loans as they struggle to find quality jobs. Biden proposes tighter regulations on those colleges to stop them "from profiteering off of students." Warren calls for banning such businesses from getting federal money altogether.

All three Democratic hopefuls point to proposed tax increases to pay for their spending. Sanders would tax Wall Street transactions. Warren points to her "wealth tax," 2 cents on every dollar of a household's net worth beyond $50 million. Biden calls for eliminating certain breaks in inheritance taxes and capping itemized deductions for the wealthiest Americans.

___

Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP .

COMMENTS

More Related News

Sanders roughed up, hits back at Democratic presidential debate
Sanders roughed up, hits back at Democratic presidential debate
  • World
  • 2020-02-26 04:04:57Z

Joe Biden, who needs a victory in South Carolina's crucial primary on Saturday to keep his campaign alive, hit Sanders as soft on gun control, while billionaire tycoon Michael Bloomberg said Russia was working to help Sanders win the nomination -- betting he will be defeated in November. "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping you get elected so you'll lose to him," the former New York mayor told Sanders in a heated opening exchange.

Bernie Sanders just unveiled how he
Bernie Sanders just unveiled how he'll pay for his biggest plans, from Medicare for All to erasing student debt

But the released document and identified revenue doesn't fully match estimates of how much the ambitious progressive proposals could cost.

Clinton calls Trump
Clinton calls Trump 'danger to democracy' at Berlin film fest

Hillary Clinton on Monday denounced President Donald Trump as a "danger to democracy" and defended her scathing comments about former rival and Democratic primary frontrunner Bernie Sanders. Clinton also warned that Russia would once again try to influence the presidential election in 2020,

It looks like people with no real interest in Bloomberg are signing up to be grassroots campaigners because he pays $2,500 a month
It looks like people with no real interest in Bloomberg are signing up to be grassroots campaigners because he pays $2,500 a month

Mike Bloomberg's social media army, who can command payments of $2,500 a month, have variable levels of commitment.

Nearly two-thirds of voters expect Trump to win reelection in November, poll finds
Nearly two-thirds of voters expect Trump to win reelection in November, poll finds

Opinions on the race appear to be firmly set for most voters, with 63% saying they know how they will vote no matter who is the Democratic nominee.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Europe