Free community college has been dropped from President Joe Biden’s agenda. Now, student loan cancellation may be next on the chopping block.
Here’s what you need to know.
Free community college for all Americans has been a centerpiece of Biden’s agenda, including from his time as a presidential candidate. Biden wanted two years of tuition-free community college to be part of his Build Back Better plan to help restart the American economy. Now, First Lady Jill Biden, who is also a community college professor, announced Monday that free community college will not be included in Build Back Better. Why? The US Senate hasn’t passed Biden’s agenda, with holdouts such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wanting to limit federal spending. To compromise on legislation, Democrats have decided to remove tuition-free community college as a key provision.
“One year ago, I told this group that Joe was going to fight for community colleges,” First Lady Biden said during remarks at the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington, DC “But Joe has also had to make compromises. Congress hasn’t passed the Build Back Better agenda – yet. And free community college is no longer a part of that … Because, like you, these aren’t just bills or budgets to me. We know what they mean for real people. For our students. ”
What this means for student loan cancellation
As a presidential candidate, Biden proposed several reforms for student loans. This included tuition-free community college (to reduce dependence on student loans) and support for a congressional plan for wide-scale student loan cancellation of up to $ 10,000. With the US Senate split 50-50, Democrats will need to eliminate high-cost initiatives such as tuition-free community college to get a broader deal done. (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 cancellation. Student loan borrowers have enjoyed nearly two years of unprecedented student loan relief, which has saved them $ 5 billion a month in student loan interest. Biden also has canceled $ 15 billion of student loans. With Congress and the president willing to eliminate tuition-free community college, it is possible that wide-scale student loan forgiveness will suffer the same fate. (Here’s who won’t get student loan forgiveness). With the exception of progressive Democrats, wide-scale student loan cancellation isn’t very popular in Congress. This is true among both Republicans and Democrats, many of whom wouldn’t support legislation that automatically canceled student loan debt of any amount for all or most Americans. Bottom line: Congress won’t pass student loan cancellation as standalone legislation or as part of a larger spending bill. (If Biden cancels student loans, this will happen next). At the same time, despite ongoing lobbying and pressure from Democrats in Congress, Biden does not appear ready to enact wide-scale student loan cancellation through an executive order. Biden has expressed doubt about that proposal, saying he doesn’t have legal authority to do so without further authorization from Congress.
While tuition-free community college may seem unrelated to student loan cancellation, this major announcement should signal yet another setback for student loan borrowers hoping that Congress or the president will act on wide-scale student loan forgiveness. With student loan relief ending soon, make sure you’re focused on student loan repayment. Here are some smart ways to help save money and pay off student loans faster:
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If Biden cancels student loans, this will happen next