The list IS long and not everything will make it thru the Democratic only vote in the Senate after Democrats hope to get a 60 vote margin on the Infrastructure bill first….
Senate Democrats on the budget committee earlier this month announced an agreement on a topline $3.5 trillion figure for the entire reconciliation package. The agreement includes the major education policy proposals that the White House has proposed. But Democratic leaders have not yet finalized how that $3.5 trillion will be allocated among the chamber’s various committees, which will be instructed to come up with the actual text of the sweeping package.
It’s not yet clear how much funding Biden’s various education initiatives will receive under the bill or exactly how they’ll be structured, but here’s a guide to what’s on the table:
— Free community college: The Biden administration has made free community college a cornerstone of its higher education legislative agenda. The reconciliation bill is likely to be modeled on the America’s College Promise Act, which is co-sponsored by the chairs of the House and Senate education committees.
— Universal pre-K: The reconciliation package will include some amount of funding to make preschool free for 3- and 4-year olds. Biden’s initial proposal called for spending $200 billion to expand pre-K.
— Boosting Pell Grants: The tentative agreement among Senate Democrats on the budget committee includes Pell Grant funding, but it’s not clear how much the increase will be. The Biden administration has proposed a total $1,800 increase in the Pell grant, which it has called a down payment on its campaign promise to double the amount.
— Funding for HBCUs: Senate Democrats’ framework calls for more funding for minority-serving institutions and historically black colleges. But there hasn’t been agreement yet on what that funding will look like, or how much it will be.
— How do Dreamers fit in? One major issue to watch as the reconciliation package takes shape is whether undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children will be included in the education proposals. The Biden administration has proposed expanding federal student aid eligibility to students who are covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program which protects them from deportation. Democrats’ legislative proposals for free community college also allow DACA recipients to access the program.
— Workforce training funding: The Biden administration has pitched $100 billion for workforce training, though it’s not yet clear how much of that will end up in Democrats’ proposal. Our colleague Elanor Mueller reported last week that some Senate Democrats are looking at a significantly lower figure, about $30 billion — a sum many of their House peers and advocates for workforce training say is inadequate.
— Expanded Social Security benefits for college students: Sens. Chris Van Hollen(D-Md.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are pushing to expand Social Security benefits for college students in the reconciliation package. Their proposal calls for raising the cutoff age for children receiving Social Security assistance from 19 to 26 for students enrolled at least half-time in college.
— School infrastructure money? Biden proposed $100 billion to build or repair new public schools across the country. That item did not make it into the bipartisan infrastructure framework that the White House agreed to with Senate negotiators. But it’s not yet clear whether an equivalent chunk of school construction money will be included in Senate Democrats’ reconciliation package. In the House, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chair of his chamber’s education committee, has said it’s a priority for him in the reconciliation bill…..