Biden pitches free community college, expanded loans in higher education plan

Biden pitches free community college, expanded loans in higher education plan
© Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenSupport for impeachment inches up in poll Overnight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Democrats say they have game changer on impeachment MORE is proposing two years of free community college and expanded loans in an effort to make higher education more affordable. 

The former vice president's plan, announced Tuesday, would cost $750 billion over 10 years and be paid for by tax reform measures targeting the wealthiest Americans, according to the Biden campaign. 

The plan proposes providing two years of free community college or high-quality training for Americans. It falls short of proposing four free years of college, as his top progressive rivals in the 2020 primary, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — ObamaCare premiums dropping for 2020 | Warren, Buttigieg shift stances on 'Medicare for All' | Drug companies spend big on lobbying Mellman: Trumping peace and prosperity On The Money: Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing finance plan | Dems jump into Trump turf war over student loans | House passes bill targeting anonymous shell companies MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — ObamaCare premiums dropping for 2020 | Warren, Buttigieg shift stances on 'Medicare for All' | Drug companies spend big on lobbying Mellman: Trumping peace and prosperity Tlaib to join Sanders at campaign rally in Detroit MORE (I-Vt.), have each proposed. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Biden’s plan would be a federal-state partnership, with the federal government covering up to 75 percent of the costs and states contributing the remainder. 

The Biden plan also proposes a $50 billion investment in workforce training, including community college-business partnerships and apprenticeships. 

His pitch to take on U.S. student loan debt also falls short of the ambitious proposals Sanders and Warren have pushed. Sanders has proposed eliminating all existing debt, and Warren has proposed a plan to eliminate about 95 percent of it. 

Biden, meanwhile, is proposing a program that would provide $10,000 of debt relief for Americans who are public servants, including individuals working in schools, government and nonprofit settings. 

And he’s calling to more than halve payments on undergraduate federal student loans. Americans making less than $25,000 would not owe any payments. Everyone else would pay no more than 5 percent of their discretionary income over $25,000 toward their loans.

Biden is also proposing to double the maximum value of Pell grants to allow more Americans to participate in the program. 

Pell grants in the 1970s covered roughly 70 percent to 80 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public institution, but cover about 30 percent today, according to the Biden campaign. Under the plan, Biden is proposing doubling the maximum value of the Pell grant to “close the gap between the rich and poor.” 

The plan also proposes that the maximum value of the grant will automatically increase based on inflation. 

Biden’s plan would be paid for by eliminating the stepped-up basis loophole and capping itemized deductions the wealthiest Americans can take to 28 percent, according to the campaign.