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Good News: Free Community Colleges in the American Families Plan!

The United States of America believes that investing in education is necessary to secure its future. It also believes that 13 years of education is not enough today. It is said that people in the United States are expecting to have at least 16 years of education in the future. 

Education is becoming more and more important today. More often than not, people invest in their own education to be successful in life. While primary school was formerly free, higher education became costly over time. This makes it difficult for children from low-income families to access post-secondary education. This also prevents them from continuing their studies after high school. 

In this article, we will talk about a new plan that gives students opportunities for higher education and makes it accessible to more Americans. The US government has announced some transformational investments towards higher education in The American Families Plan. 

These include:

Free Community Colleges

 

The government will now invest $109 billion to offer all Americans two years of free community college. President Biden aims that every American student should have a degree or certificate at the end of his or her academic life. 

Community colleges are often a pathway to a Bachelor’s degree or a workforce. Community colleges offer programs that lead to degrees and certificates in specific fields, like business administration, accounting, nursing, engineering etc. They also allow students to explore their interests before committing to more years of study.

Benefits of pursuing a degree program in your chosen field include:

  • Opportunities for higher earnings and career advancement, with a Bachelor’s degree being worth an average of $30,000 annually. Jobs that require an associate’s degree often pay as much as those requiring a bachelor’s degree.
  • Lifelong earned income, including higher starting salaries and larger wage growth over the course of your entire career.
  • Greater benefits and improved quality of life. For example, higher earnings increase your ability to buy a house or send children to school.
  • Reduction in crime rate and higher civic engagement. Graduates tend to be more civically active and have a lower risk of being involved in crime.

With the announcement of this plan, Americans will now have opportunities to gain degrees or certificates through community colleges for free!

 

Affordable College Education for Low- and Middle-Income Students

The US government will also invest in making college more affordable for students with low- and middle-income backgrounds. It means that minority-serving institutions like Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) will become more affordable now. The government plans to invest $46 billion in these institutions.

$39 billion will go towards offering two years of subsidized tuition for students enrolled in a 4-year program in minority institutions and having a family income of less than $125000. $5 billion will be given for expanding existing institutional aid grants that will help these minority institutions to improve their academic and administrative capabilities. They will be able to offer more programs in high-demand fields, such as Nursing, Allied Health Sciences, STEM, and Computer Sciences.

$2 billion will be invested to produce skilled health care workers with graduate degrees to secure the future of the country.

Research shows that HBCUs are only 3% of 4-year universities’ student population. 25% of Black undergraduates from HBCUs earn STEM degrees. Half of Black lawyers and doctors and about 80% of Black judges graduate from HBCUs. Additional funding can help such minority institutions to get more resources, grow, and support more students.

 

Better Teachers

What’s more, the government will also invest in teacher training and support! As much as $9 billion will be invested in training, equipping and diversifying school teachers to make sure that high school graduates are ready for succeeding in their academic and career lives. 

Today, teachers in the US get the lowest pay among all other highly-skilled professionals. Now, the government will ensure that teachers are well trained, well-compensated and supported to achieve academic excellence.

It is said that high-quality teachers are vital to preparing students for college and career readiness. High-quality teachers produce high-performing graduates. They are less likely to be absent, more likely to help students understand complex academic content, and have better classroom management skills. The cooperation between teachers, students, parents and communities can create new opportunities for all American children.

A teacher’s salary of $50k per year might not be enough to support a family today. As a result, many talented young people choose different paths rather than becoming teachers. The government’s plan will take good care of teachers and attract more people to become future educators.

Teacher scholarships will now be awarded to those who want to become an educator and earn a bachelor’s degree another credential in the field. The educators will also receive good wages, professional development training, and job-embedded coaching to highlight their importance in the country.

 

Revising Pell Grants

 

The American government will invest approximately $85 billion Pell Grants to help students seeking a two- or four-year degree or a certificate in a subject of their choice. About 7 million low-income students depend on Pell Grants to pay tuition and fees. 

With the infusion of funds, each student will receive an additional $1,400 to spend on their education. With the rising cost of education, the maximum value of the grant was barely enough to cover 30% of the cost of a four-year college degree. The additional money can be helpful in reducing the financial burden on college students.

The government will also expand the eligibility to use the grants. The plan will also allow DREAMers (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors or undocumented minor immigrants) to access Pell Grants. Till now, immigrants without legal status were not allowed to obtain federal student aid. As a result, their education was very costly, if available at all. Now, our government is ready to invest in these young talents and help them achieve their dreams of an education.

This will also support the economy in the future. The US has already lost $220 billion in earnings due to the lack of education. The government will also invest in supporting students with children or dependents since most of them are single parents. It means that now more students can have a hope to get a higher education.

 

Improving Colleges’ Completion and Retention Rates

 

The American Families Plan will also invest $62 billion in evidence-based strategies to help improve community colleges and institutions’ retention and completion rates. It has been noted that in Fall 2020, high schools with a high-minority or high-poverty student population saw a drop of 9.4% enrollment. College enrollment dropped by 11.4% President Biden hopes that free community colleges can help about 5.5 million students complete their education without much financial stress.

According to research, many students enrol in college but do not graduate. Approximately 3 out of 5 students finish certificate or degree programs within 6 years. Such students need additional study support. While the US government is funding colleges for adopting innovative and proven solutions for student success, Transtutors is already offering online study help services to students for over a decade to improve their learning outcomes and help them achieve their academic goals.

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December 28, 2021

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