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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson June 10, 2021

Biden’s American Families Plan would make community college tuition-free for millions

President Joe Biden continues to pursue a campaign promise to make two years of community college tuition-free, including it in the American Families Plan he released in April. 

Biden's plan would allocate $109 billion toward ensuring that "first-time students and workers wanting to reskill can enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free." Students could use the benefit over three or four years. 

If all states, territories, and tribes participate, the proposal said, about 5.5 million students would benefit from free tuition. The White House said that immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as minors, sometimes called Dreamers, would qualify for this support.

The American Families Plan would also allocate an additional $85 billion for Pell Grants, allowing an additional $1,400 in educational assistance to low-income students.

The plan would also devote $62 billion to a grant program "to invest in completion and retention activities at colleges and universities that serve high numbers of low-income students, particularly community colleges."

The American Families Plan hasn't been put into legislative language yet, and it's far from certain that the entire proposal, or even portions of it, will be enacted by the narrowly divided House and Senate. 

In fact, bipartisan negotiations over a higher-priority proposal from Biden — the American Jobs Plan, sometimes known as Biden's infrastructure proposal — have struggled to produce a workable agreement, amid concerns expressed by Republicans that the program costs too much. In a Senate where support from 60 senators is required to advance to a final vote, the path to passage is difficult.

Still, the inclusion of Biden's campaign promise in a formal proposal from the White House is enough to rate this promise In the Works.

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