Biden budget requests $500 million for two years of free community college with focus on minorities

(Daily Caller) – President Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget includes $500 million in discretionary funding to provide two years of free community college, according to the document released on Thursday afternoon.

The funding will support a program to provide two years of free community college for students “enrolled in high-quality programs that lead to a four-year degree or a good-paying job,” the budget reads. The total proposal tallies $6.8 trillion, which is $1 trillion higher than was requested during Fiscal Year 2023.

The budget includes two years of subsidized tuition for families who make less than $125,000 if the student is enrolled in a four-year Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Tribally Controlled College and University (TCCU) or a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), according to its text. It also boosts the discretionary maximum Pell Grant to $500, building on previous legislative efforts to increase the maximum by $900 over the past two years.

Increasing the Pell Grant would help “low and middle-income students overcome financial barriers to postsecondary education” and would expand access to $6.8 million students, according to the budget. The budget also “provides a path to double the maximum award by 2029.”

Biden touted two years of free community college on the campaign trail while taking on former Republican President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election. While the promise has not yet come to fruition, Biden referenced the goal during his 2023 State of the Union in February.

“Let’s finish the job and connect students to career opportunities starting in high school and provide access to two years of community college, some of the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree,” Biden said. “Let’s offer every American the path to a good career whether they go to college or not.”

The proposal also includes $2.7 billion for the Office of Federal Student Aid, a $620 million increase from the 2023 enacted level, to help student loan borrowers ahead of repayments which are expected to resume after the Supreme Court rules on the legality of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

It also increases funding for HBCUs, TCCUs, MSIs and under-resourced institutions and community colleges by $429 million above the 2023 enacted level. The proposal would also allocate $200 million for a program to help high school students transition to higher education and funding to “improve the retention, transfer and completion rates of students” through various student success programs.

The White House and the Department of Education did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.