President Joe Biden’s ambitious American Families Plan, announced April 28, is a big step forward in investing in American families and education.
One of the goals of the American Families Plan is to help families cover basic expenses, including lowering health insurance premiums while ensuring that families earning less than $400,000 pay lower taxes. More specifically, the plan includes $1.8 trillion in investments and tax credits for American families and children over 10 years as well as $1 trillion in other investments and $8 billion in tax cuts for families and workers.
Preschool has been shown to help children adjust to kindergarten better and helps children improve early cognitive, literacy and mathematical skills, according to Great Schools. With the Plan, families will be guaranteed quality preschools for all children ages 3 and 4 with $200 billion being allocated to fund the schooling.
College students and educators are also included in the American Families Plan by allocating $109 billion making two years of community college free. Beyond that, college will also be made more affordable with $80 billion invested in increasing Pell Grants for students. Colleges and universities that serve underserved communities will also be receiving money to improve affordability, including $46 billion to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other minority serving institutions. In order to ensure quality and diverse education, $9 billion will also be invested in training, equipping and diversifying teachers and professors.
Making college affordable is one thing, but improving retention and completion rates is another problem. The overall six year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who completed a bachelor’s degree at the same institution they started at was just 62% in 2018, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The Plan seeks to better that by investing $62 billion for improving retention and completion rates.
It is no secret that lower and middle income families struggle with basic needs and that college is increasingly becoming less affordable, but Biden’s American Families Plan is a clear step to making sure that people are not struggling financially. It may seem like a steep price point, but there isn’t a price point in investing in American families and workers to ensure that everyone has at least the bare minimum.