How the Democrats could shape college education costs

Student loan forgiveness, other aid on chopping block


This story is the second in a series that looks at how the presidential candidates could shape your family’s finances.

Many Americans see college as a necessity if they want a career that allows them to buy a home, support a family and acquire other trappings of what’s been defined as the American Dream.

But higher education doesn’t come cheap.

For students attending a public four-year college in their home state, tuition and fees currently average $10,440, according to the Urban Institute.

Now, several presidential candidates are proposing that many Americans should be able to attend school for free.

Biden and community college tuition 

Former Vice President Joe Biden says students will be able to attend a community college for up to two years without paying tuition. A partnership between the federal government and the states would cover the costs. 

He would also double the top value of Pell Grants, which is $6,195 for the current school year. That aid helps lower-income students pay college tuition, and Biden would expand that assistance to more middle-class students.

Student loan debt reached an all-time high of $1.4 trillion in the first quarter of 2019, according to Experian, a credit reporting company. This is an increase of 116% in 10 years.

Klobuchar wants 529s for retraining

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has a similar plan. Community college and technical certifications would be tuition-free, paid for by a federal match of $3 for every $1 a state pays for students going to school at least part-time in their home state. 

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