(Bloomberg) -- Pete Buttigieg called for spending $120 billion on the Pell Grant program and making public colleges tuition-free for students eligible for those federal grants as part of his proposal released Monday to improve college affordability.
Unlike some of his primary opponents, Buttigieg isn't calling for public colleges to be tuition-free for all students, or for total student-debt cancellation. He's said families that make over a certain income threshold should pay at least some of the cost of their kids' higher education. The plan released Monday focuses on helping lower- and middle-income families.
The proposal also calls for a $2 billion pilot program to expand the free and reduced-price lunch program to provide food vouchers to students in community college, and for automatically enrolling students who take out loans for college in affordable, income-driven repayment plans.
Buttigieg also said he'd support legislation that would allow student-athletes to get paid for the use of their likeness, saying he supports California's new Fair Pay to Play Act. The South Bend, Indiana, mayor also proposed extending Pell Grants to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients, and increasing funding for historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions by $50 billion.
The Buttigieg campaign said details about how the plan would be funded would come at a later date.
Ten candidates have qualified for the fifth Democratic debate, on Wednesday in Atlanta: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker and Tom Steyer.
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