- Biden told progressives he is cutting free community college from the social-spending bill, per CNN.
- This comes as Democrats are working to cut down some measures from their initial $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion proposal.
- Education Sec. Miguel Cardona previously said he was “worried” about the measure being cut.
As Democrats plan to reach a framework on their social-spending bill this week, multiple sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN on Tuesday that tuition-free community college will not be making the cut.
Early last month, the House education committee unveiled its portion of the reconciliation bill, which included $US450 ($AU601) billion to secure universal pre-K for three- and four-year olds and $US111 ($AU148) billion to provide two free years of community college, among other things. Per their proposal, states would receive money based on average tuition and fees at community colleges, and in exchange, states would eliminate in-state tuition for students at those colleges.
President Joe Biden met with a range of lawmakers on Tuesday, including moderate Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, to hash out what will realistically end up in the expansive reconciliation bill Democrats are seeking to pass, and as CNN reported, Biden informed House progressives that free community college will not end up in the final bill.
California Rep. Ro Khanna said in a CNN interview that Biden still planned to provide “community college scholarships” in the bill, and added that the president plans to keep the universal pre-K proposal.
House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that “it looks like that’s probably going to be out,” referring to free community college.
Insider previously reported that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was “worried” providing tuition-free education would not make it into the final package.
“I’m worried that’s one of the things that is being looked at to be cut from the Build Back Better agenda,” Cardona told Politico in an interview. “That would be a shame because we’re so close to leveling the playing field for so many students.”
The final framework for the social-spending bill has yet to be released, but it’s clear progressives are having to cut many elements of their initial $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion proposal to appease moderate lawmakers, including Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, who have pushed for a lower price tag on the bill.
Rep. Andy Levin, of Michigan, a member of the House education committee who helped draft the free community college proposal, previously told Politico he is “super concerned” about the measure being cut from the bill, and wrote on Twitter on Tuesday the benefits of the proposal.
“Providing two years of free community college through the Build Back Better Act will reduce students’ total costs to attend college and the burden of student loan debt dramatically,” he wrote. “How can anyone say no to this?”