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New budget request aims to make education more affordable

President Joe Biden released the 2024 fiscal year budget request.

By Jasmine Alejandre, Staff Writer

President Joe Biden spoke about reducing gun violence at an event Monterey Park, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. ( Elli Bayati | Valley Star )

President Joe Biden released his budget request for the 2024 fiscal year earlier this month, which includes lowering costs for students attending college.

The move is the latest in a series of efforts made by the Biden administration to help with college affordability. Just last year, he announced a three-part plan to help students with debt relief. The plan includes canceling up to $10,000 in student loans and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. The budget awaits congressional approval.

“I think it’s a fine plan, it’s coming out of the taxpayers money, but it’s education so it’s worth it,” said Larissa Vasquez, psychology major. “We spend so much more money on defense than education, so it would be better to spend it on education.”

One section of the budget request, entitled ”Lowering Costs and Giving Families More Breathing Room,” details a plan to help low and middle income students overcome financial obstacles. It includes a proposal to provide students two years of free community college if they are enrolled in a program that leads to a four-year degree or a good paying job. This is similar to California’s Promise Program, which offers first time college students two years of free college.

The budget also calls for an expansion of the Pell Grant award, which is a grant awarded to low income students to promote access to a post secondary education. The president proposed to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $8,215 for the 2024-25 award year, which is a 7 percent increase from the current $7,395.

In addition to these requests, the budget would cover two years of tuition for those who earn less than $125,000 and are enrolled in a four-year historically Black university , tribally controlled college or minority-serving institution . The request also would increase funding to these schools by $429 million.

The budget also proposed funding for TRIO, a program to support low income and first generation students. This program could receive up to $106.8 million more than the 2023 level.

“My hope is that these proposals will be approved in order for the country’s educational system to become more inclusive,” said Vernon Bridges, financial aid manager at Valley College. “And enticing to those who want to go to college but simply can’t afford to or for whatever reason do not have enough resources to both attend school and maintain their households and families at the same time.”

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