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Trump's And Biden's Plans For Education

Caroline Amenabar/NPR; Joe Hall/Flickr

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Make public colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions tuition-free for families making less than $125,000.
  • Make two years of community college and training programs tuition-free.
  • Cancel $10,000 of every American's student debt and revise the current loan repayment system.
  • Establish universal prekindergarten.
  • Read details of Biden's plans below.
  • Donald Trump

  • Strengthen school choice policy and expand accessibility to charter schools.
  • Promote "patriotic education" curriculum in schools.
  • Read details of Trump's plans below.

  • Biden's plans for education

    Biden is advocating to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for students with family incomes under $125,000. He links this proposal to the 2017 College for All Act, legislation introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.

    Biden also wants to extend the 2017 proposal to include private historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions. The plan would allocate $70 billion toward those institutions to advance and expand facilities, educational and technological infrastructure and financial accessibility.

    He also pledges to make community college and training programs tuition-free for two years of attendance. The plan would invest $50 billion in workforce training programs and $8 billion in upgrades to community college technology and facility infrastructure. He's additionally advocating for increasing the maximum value of Pell Grants by twofold.

    On tackling federal student debt, Biden pledges to forgive student borrowers who graduate from public universities and private historically Black colleges and universities and make less than $125,000. In response to COVID-19, he's also callingfor the cancellation of $10,000 of federal student loan debt for every American.

    Biden wants to revise the current loan repayment system as well, pausing payments and interest for individuals with incomes under $25,000 and leveling payments for people making over that amount to 5% of their discretionary income. His plan outlines that the government will resolve Americans of their debt after two decades if they've "responsibly made payments through the program."

    In his plan to support K-12 education, Biden calls for a greater focus on underfunded schools to reduce educational disparities. He wants to triple Title Ifunding to raise salaries for teachers who work at schools with primarily low-income student bodies. He also wants to increase the presence of mental health workers in schools, repair public school infrastructure and offer additional career resources and vocational training for middle and high school students.

    As part of a $775 billion caregiving and education plan, Biden is notably advocating for universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds in a bid to improve education accessibility and lessen financial strains on parents. He also wants increased financial support for child care workers and facilities as well as financial incentives and educational resources for middle- to lower-income families paying for child care.

    Trump's plans for education

    Trump's central education goal throughout his first term has been promoting school choice and increasing access to charter schools.

    Trump is also advocating for what he calls "patriotic education" in schools. His campaign described this concept as teaching "American exceptionalism." The president recently announced that the National Endowment for the Humanities would be funding "pro-American curriculum," arguing that teaching the concept of systemic racism is "a form of child abuse."

    In February, the White House rolled out a proposed 2021 budget that would make significant cuts and restrictions to federal student loan programs.

    See more of the major presidential candidates' key policy agendas here.

    NPR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe and political correspondent Asma Khalid contributed to this report.

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    Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.