By Angelina Jahn
On Thursday, Oct. 28 President Joe Biden held a livestream to announce the current legislative agenda. Among the things discussed was the increase in funding for higher education.
Biden began his speech by stating the importance of free education and the part it has played in American history.
“We were among the first to provide access to free education for all Americans beginning in the late 1800s,” Biden said. “That decision alone, to invest in our children and families, was a major part of why we were able to lead the world for much of the 20th century. But somewhere along the way, we stopped investing in ourselves (and) investing in our people.”
He went on to announce that as an investment in higher education, the U.S. government will be increasing money allocated to federal pell grants, which is a non-repayable grant awarded to college students based on their financial need, as well as increasing funding for Historically Black and Tribal colleges.
This announcement comes in lieu of the previously proposed provision to supply free two-year college to all Americans, which was dropped. At a CNN town hall on Oct. 21, Biden said that this was due to Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Krysten Sinema of Arizona, noting their lack of support for free community college.
Biden concluded his speech by saying “If we make these investments, there will be no stopping the American people or America. We will own the future. I’ve long said: it’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people.”