Higher Education Implications Under a Biden Administration

America’s Vice President and First Lady bring diverse educational backgrounds to the Biden Administration – the former, a graduate of one of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the latter a long-time community college professor. Unsurprisingly, both avenues of higher education were featured in Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign promises.

The Biden campaign ran on the platform to invest in community colleges and training to help grow and develop America’s middle class, promising a $50 billion investment in community-college business partnerships and apprenticeship programs. Led by Dr. Jill Biden, the administration is currently pushing for free two-year access to community colleges and training programs to help alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19. The Biden campaign also proposed having public higher education schools be tuition-free for those families earning less than $125,000 a year and a revamping of the student loan program.  

Biden’s platform also placed an emphasis on supporting under-resourced colleges and universities that play vital roles in their communities, including HBCUs and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). Potentially investing $70 billion in these types of institutions, the administration aims to refresh infrastructure, make higher education more affordable through additional grants, create programs to aid in increasing enrollment and completion, and develop internship and career channels for teaching, health care and STEM programs.

As of early April 2021, there has been an executive action to extend the CARES Act moratorium on student loan repayment through September 30, 2021 and a proposed bill that calls for immediate cancellation of $10,000 in federal student loan debt and forgiveness of up to $10,000 for every year of national or community service, up to five years. Additionally, there are signs of an upcoming overhaul of Title IX through an executive order to the Secretary of Education regarding the existing regulations. With the Administration’s immediate focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration, and racial equality, among other topics, it may be a while before the higher education sector feels the full impacts of Biden’s campaign promises.

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