March 14, 2022 - President Biden recently released his budget request for the fiscal year 2024, which includes a 13.6% discretionary increase for the U.S. Department of Education, an 11% increase to the Department of Labor, and the reinstatement of free community college in his proposal.
The President’s budget request includes a two-part plan for free community college: a proposal for a long-term federal-state partnership and a short-term, program-specific grant to institutions to waive tuition and fees. The President also proposes increasing the Pell Grant maximum award by $820 for the 2024-25 award-year, continuing with the pace to double the Pell Grant by 2029. Additionally, the administration once again included the intention to work with Congress to include DACA recipients in eligibility for Title IV federal student aid.
On the workforce development front, the President proposed to increase funding for the Strengthening Community College Training grants by $35 million, for a total of $100 million in grants.
In response to the release of the budget, ACCT President and CEO Jee Hang Lee made the following statement:
“Community colleges continue to play a key role as economic engines in their communities. They provide education and training to prepare students for the workforce of both today and the future. President Biden recognizes the value of this role and students’ access to our institutions’ programs with his continued commitment to the Pell Grant and free community college.
“Further, our institutions strongly encourage Congress to take a close look at the new, $500 million grant program that would provide for tuition and fee free community in specific programs. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that approximately 100 community colleges each year could participate in this program to support students in programs that lead to bachelor’s degrees or high-earning jobs.”
ACCT will continue to work the White House and Congress to ensure the best possible supports for community colleges and their students in the final fiscal year 2024 budget. We encourage our institutions to continue to communicate to elected officials about the needs of their campuses.
The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States and beyond.