Higher Learning Advocates’ Statement on the American Families Plan

Higher Learning Advocates’ Statement on the American Families Plan

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2021) — This morning, the Biden Administration announced the American Families Plan, which includes important provisions that would improve the lives of today’s students. Executive Director Julie Peller made the following statement regarding the plan:

“Higher Learning Advocates is excited to see the proposals included in the American Families Plan and thanks President Biden for his continued focus on supporting today’s students. We are glad to see proposals to make higher education more affordable, including ensuring that all Americans, including DREAMers, can enroll in two years of tuition free community college. We hope that the final plan will ensure that all students, including returning and part-time students, will benefit from the program. But affording college tuition and fees is only part of the problem—students still face barriers to completion. We are glad to see that the plan also proposes a $62 billion investment in evidence-based strategies to increase completion and retention rates at community colleges and institutions serving disadvantaged communities. 

Additionally, we are glad to see the proposed $1,400 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, and are encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to ultimately double the maximum grant. The Pell Grant has not kept up with the quickly rising cost of college and today’s low-income students need additional support to ensure higher education is truly affordable and accessible to all. 

We also appreciate the American Families Plan’s focus on making Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs) more affordable for low- and middle-income students. Higher Learning Advocates is encouraged to see a proposed $39 billion for a new program that would provide two years of subsidized tuition for students whose families earn less than $125,000 and are enrolled at a four-year HBCU, TCU, or MSI, in addition to $5 billion to expand existing institutional aid. Students of color, especially Black and Latinx students, face many systemic barriers within higher education, and we applaud the focus on ensuring students who have been historically underserved by higher education have access to an affordable education.

Finally, Higher Learning Advocates is pleased to see that the American Families Plan proposes making permanent the temporary Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) expansion that was included in the American Rescue Plan. Higher Learning Advocates has consistently advocated for making this change permanent as it would greatly benefit today’s parenting students. We greatly appreciate the continued significant investments in child care in this and previous packages and thank the Biden Administration for centering the needs of student parents.

Supporting today’s students is key to our nation’s economic recovery. Focusing investments on higher education affordability and completion, in addition to ensuring students’ basic needs are met, will help students, and the country, succeed moving forward.”

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Higher Learning Advocates is a bipartisan non-profit organization that advocates for solutions to break down systemic barriers and support the success of today’s students in their pursuit of education and skills development beyond high school. We advance federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve student outcomes.