President Biden proposes free community college

Updated: May 12, 2021

The president’s new plan focuses on improving students’ college experiences through various forms of financial aid.


By Cassandra Nava, Online Editor


The American Families Plan will provide Americans with tuition-free community college. (Graphic Illustration by Vickie Guzman/The Valley Star)

Two years of free community college may soon become available for all Americans if Congress approves of President Joseph Biden’s ambitious American Families Plan.


On April 28, the president marked the eve of his first 100 days in office by explaining his newest proposal, The American Families Plan. Biden aims to fund this plan by taxing wealthy Americans so that they too can “invest in our nation's future.” The family-focused plan will divert money into postsecondary education, specifically offering an increase in Pell Grant awards and two years of free community college for all Americans.


“Even before the pandemic, cost remained a barrier to attending and graduating from community college for many Americans,” according to the White House’s statement on The American Family's Plan. “President Biden’s $109 billion plan will ensure that first-time students and workers wanting to reskill can enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free.”


Los Angeles Community College District’s Promise Program has a similar system set up for students who have recently graduated from high school. The program is intended to waive the costs of the first two years of community college, as well as put the new students on track to transfer to a university.


Through Valley’s Promise Program, students will not only receive free education for two years, but will also get priority registration to classes, possible paid internship opportunities and a $50 deposit to their BankMobile accounts during the fall and spring semesters. Monarchs can receive these benefits only if they meet the first and second year LA College Promise requirements.


Biden’s plan will also focus on increasing Pell Grants to keep up with the increasing prices of colleges. Pell Grants are federally funded and given to students who need assistance when paying for college. According to the president’s briefing, Pell Grants went from covering 80 percent of the cost of a four-year college degree to under 30 percent over the last 50 years.


“The American Families Plan will increase the maximum Pell Grant award by approximately $1,400, a down payment on President Biden’s commitment to double the maximum award,” reads the briefing. “The plan also allows DREAMers to access Pell Grants.”


Valley’s website states that those who apply for FAFSA are considered for federal and state aid programs, such as the Federal Pell Grant, California College Promise Grant and others.

An additional $62 billion will be used to help colleges focus on raising their completion rates. Biden promises to invest in students and encourage them to reach their educational goals by offering mental health services, childcare services, faculty and peer mentoring and more.


LACCD commended the president’s plan, applauding the positive effects it will have on the community.


LACCD Board President, Steven F. Veres said in a news release on behalf of the LACCD Board of Trustees and Administration, “We know from the California College Promise program that these additional supports are a critical factor in ensuring student persistence and completion through college.”