“There was nothing that indicated that free community college was an unpopular idea — in fact, it’s quite the contrary.”
The left has been pushing this for a long time and got very close to getting what they want. They’re not backing down now.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
President Biden told Democratic lawmakers last week that tuition-free community college would likely be scrapped from his social spending package, disappointing higher education advocates and dealing a blow to the administration’s college-affordability agenda.
To appease moderate Democrats who weren’t willing to support $3.5 trillion in spending for Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, the White House has been working with Congress to make substantial cuts to the budget reconciliation bill. They’re reportedly discussing a price tag of between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion over 10 years for the legislation — excluding the America’s College Promise program as a result.
Thirty-two education and civil rights organizations issued a joint statement following the reports that the program was cut, condemning Biden for “abandoning” tuition-free community college and breaking the campaign promise he made to young voters. The groups included the Education Trust, the NAACP and the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, but none of the larger higher education associations.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that we seem to be governing based on arbitrary budget numbers rather than policy merits,” said Mark Huelsman, senior policy fellow at the Hope Center. “There was nothing that indicated that free community college was an unpopular idea — in fact, it’s quite the contrary.”
The America’s College Promise program would’ve provided two years of universal tuition-free community college through a federal-state funding partnership. Initial proposals called for funding the program for 10 years, but it was decreased to five years before being dropped from the bill completely.
But a final deal still hasn’t been struck, and advocates aren’t giving up on America’s College Promise until the Build Back Better Act is on the president’s desk. Rise Inc., a student-led advocacy organization, hosted a virtual phone bank Friday to call Democratic lawmakers, urging them to keep tuition-free community college in the legislation.
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