The Super Tuesday primaries are 4 days away. Now’s the time for you to consider the presidential candidates’ plans for resolving America’s postsecondary education affordability crisis.
We’ve already reviewed the candidates’ student loan proposals. Today we focus on Democratic plans for cutting college costs, increasing grants, and boosting work-study (see our February 19 article for Trump grant and work-study plans.
Student Costs: Would form a federal-state partnership (75% paid for by Washington) to cover 2 years of tuition at community colleges and in job training programs with good graduation and placement rates.
Pell Grants: Wants to double Pell Grant award amounts, index future Pell amounts to inflation, and make DREAMers and formerly incarcerated students Pell-eligible.
Work-Study: Calls for prioritizing Federal Work-Study (FWS) funding for part-time jobs in which postsecondary students learn career skills or mentor K-12 students.
Other: Would provide 2 and 4-year colleges with federal funds to finance emergency grants to students at risk of dropping out due to unexpected expenses. Also promises to seek $18 billion to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities lower student costs and increase graduation rates.
Student Costs: He, too, wants a federal-state partnership using 67% federal money to support 2 tuition-free years in states and at schools that limit tuition growth and keep overall student cost increases from exceeding inflation. At community colleges, this partnership would only cover transfer and career-oriented programs using “evidence-based” completion strategies. Private colleges could participate only if they already graduate large percentages of their Pell recipients. Hopes to cut textbook costs by doubling the Open Textbook pilot program’s funding, and wants to make low-income students eligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
Pell Grants: Would also double Pell awards and open Pell to DREAMers and students once imprisoned. Calls for 2 Pell pilot programs — one directing extra Pell money to schools enrolling and graduating large numbers of Pell recipients, the other extending it to adults and students in quality, short-term training programs. Would notify families of Pell eligibility through the federal tax process and would simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so more students apply for Pell.
Work-Study: Advocates for tripling FWS funding, requiring FWS to go to more low and moderate-income students, increasing career-related FWS positions — including in the private sector — and having employers pay more than their current 25% share of FWS wages.
Other: Would triple federal funding for HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), requiring them to spend the new money on need-based student aid and improving graduation rates.
Student Costs: His federal-state partnership would make public institutions tuition-free for families earning up to $100,000 and provide substantial public college tuition subsidies to households with incomes of $100,001 – $150,000 if their states improve affordability by curbing tuition growth, enhancing credit transfers, and boosting financial aid. Would open SNAP to all otherwise eligible postsecondary students and, at community colleges, create a $2 billion free and reduced lunch pilot program while also spending $1 billion to reduce students’ child care and transportation expenses.
Pell Grants: Wants to infuse $120 million into the Pell program, immediately increase Pell awards by $1,000, then grow future Pell amounts to match inflation. Would also open Pell to DREAMers. Would have Washington automatically divulge Pell eligibility to high school students, then complete most of their FAFSAs for their postsecondary years.
Work-Study: Would require universities to create cooperative agreements placing FWS students in well-paying, career-oriented, off-campus jobs.
Other: Also wants federal funding for emergency grants to students suffering unexpected expenses, but only at public colleges; and would invest $50 billion over 10 years to fund need-based aid and promote college completion at HBCU’s, MSIs, and TCUs.
Student Costs: Wants a 75% federally funded partnership with states to pay all tuition for 1 and 2-year technical certifications and community college degrees, and to fund student emergency grants. Would seek to open 529 plans and Coverdell Savings Accounts to older students seeking career and technical retraining or occupational licensing courses. Would let low-income students into SNAP and federal housing subsidies and expand a federal on-campus child-care program.
Pell Grants: Would also double Pell awards, then tie them to inflation, streamline the FAFSA, and extend Pell eligibility to students with family incomes up to $100,000, adult learners, and incarcerated students.
Work-Study: No proposals.
Other: Would provide HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs with federal funding to waive or significantly reduce their first 2 years of tuition. Also seeks a new tax credit for employers providing retraining to workers at risk of being laid off.
Student Costs: Wants to provide at least $48 billion per year to eliminate tuition and fees at public colleges, HBCUs, MSIs, TCUs, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs. Would partner with states that cover non-tuition and fee costs for families with incomes below $25,000, and do a 50-50 federal match for additional state outlays that reduce other students’ costs.
Pell Grants: Calls for Pell Grants sufficient to cover low-income students’ book, supply, housing, transportation, and other living expenses.
Work-Study: Says he’d triple FWS funding to employ an addition 1.4 million financially needy students.
Other: Would provide $1.3 billion per year to help 200 private, nonprofit HBCUs and MSIs serving 35% of America’s low-income students eliminate or significantly reduce tuition and fees.
Student Costs: Promises to give all Americans the opportunity to attend 2 and 4-year public colleges or technical schools without paying any tuition and fees.
Pell Grants: Would inject $100 billion more into Pell Grants so every American, especially low-income students, could afford postsecondary education without using loans.
Work-Study: No proposals.
Other: Seeks $50 billion to ensure that HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs have the resources they need.
Educate yourself about the candidates and vote in your state’s primary! This election is crucial on countless fronts, including postsecondary affordability.
For the candidates full plans for postsecondary affordability and learning, use the links below.