President Joe Biden laid out a vision for expanded schooling in the United States through his newly proposed American Families Plan, declaring during the State of the Union speech Wednesday evening that all Americans should have access to four more years of free public education in addition to the universal schooling for K-12 students.
Under the American Families plan, American families would have access to free and universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds, while American adults and “DREAMers” would have access to two years of tuition-free community college education.
“Twelve years is no longer enough today to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century. That’s why my American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America, starting as early as we can,” said Biden in his speech.
12 years is no longer enough to compete in the 21st century. That’s why the American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America — two years of universal, high-quality pre-school and two years of free community college.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 29, 2021
The universal preschool expansion would cost, according to the Biden administration’s estimates, $200 billion, and the community college expansion would cost $109 billion. Neither of the programs would be capped by income.
“President Biden’s $109 billion plan will ensure that first-time students and workers wanting to re-skill can enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free,” reads an overview of the plan. “Students can use the benefit over three years and, if circumstances warrant, up to four years, recognizing that many students’ lives and other responsibilities can make full-time enrollment difficult.”
The education spending figures, while high, would still only be a portion of the total spending Biden has proposed across his two new plans. When combined, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan would create $4 trillion in new spending.
Biden’s plan does not appear to affect four-year universities, which other left-wing politicians have suggested should be free for many Americans as well. Only last week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) proposed the “College For All Act,” which would extend tuition-free education to all Americans at community colleges and trade schools, and also cover education at four-year universities for students from families earning an Annual Gross Income (AGI) of less than $125,000 per year.
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