Free community college has been taken off President Joe Biden’s agenda. Now, student loan forgiveness could be next on the chopping block.
Here’s what you need to know.
A free community college for all Americans has been a centerpiece of Biden’s agenda, including since he was a presidential candidate. Biden wanted two years of tuition-free community college as part of his Build Back Better plan to help restart the US economy. Now First Lady Jill Biden, who is also a community college professor, announced on Monday that the free community college will be not be included in Building Back Better. Why? The U.S. Senate has not embraced Biden’s agenda, with holdouts such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wanting to limit federal spending. To compromise on the legislation, Democrats moved to scrap tuition-free community colleges as a key provision.
“A year ago I told this group that Joe was going to fight for community colleges,” First Lady Biden said during a speech at the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. “But Joe also had to compromise. Congress has yet to pass the Build Back Better program. And free community college is no longer part of it… Because, like you, it’s not just bills or budgets for me. We know what they mean for real people. For our students.
What it means for student loan forgiveness
As a presidential candidate, Biden has proposed several student loan reforms. This included a tuition-free community college (to reduce reliance on student loans) and support for a Congressional plan for large-scale student loan forgiveness up to $10,000. With the US Senate split 50-50, Democrats such as Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) signaled to the president that they would not support a $1.75 trillion spending package. That means Democrats will have to scrap costly initiatives like tuition-free community colleges to strike a broader deal. (Shock poll: student loans will be completely canceled before student loan payments restart in May).
This latest update doesn’t bode well for student loan forgiveness. Student borrowers have enjoyed nearly two years of unprecedented student loan relief, saving them $5 billion a month in student loan interest. Biden also canceled $15 billion in student loans. With Congress and the President willing to eliminate tuition-free community colleges, large-scale student loan forgiveness may suffer the same fate. (Here’s Who Won’t Get Student Loan Forgiveness). With the exception of progressive Democrats, large-scale student loan forgiveness is not popular in Congress. This is true for both Republicans and Democrats, many of whom would not support legislation that automatically cancels student loan debt. of any amount for all or most Americans. Conclusion: Congress will not pass student loan forgiveness as stand-alone legislation or as part of a larger spending bill. (If Biden cancels student loans, that will happen next). At the same time, despite continued lobbying and pressure from Democrats in Congress, Biden does not appear ready to enact large-scale student loan forgiveness through an executive order. Biden has expressed doubts about the proposal, saying he doesn’t have the legal authority to do so without further authorization from Congress.
While tuition-free community colleges may seem unrelated to student loan cancellation, this major announcement should signal another setback for student borrowers hoping Congress or the President will act on large-scale loan cancellation. student loans. With student loan relief ending soon, be sure to focus on paying off student loans. Here are some smart ways to save money and pay off student loans faster: