Could $45 billion provide every American with tuition-free community college for the next five years?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

While a scrapped $45.5 billion proposal would have funded "six semesters" of community college for many American students over the next five years, it would not have done so for "every American."

An earlier version of the Build Back Better Act stated the funds would "eliminate the cost of tuition and fees for eligible students at community colleges in participating states and at eligible Tribal Colleges and Universities." The program would be supplemented by state funds equal to an increasing percentage of the nationwide median cost of tuition and fees: zero the first year, 5% the second year, 10% the third year, and so on. States were not required to participate. Students were required to enroll in a single accredited program in their state to receive benefits.

In February, First Lady Jill Biden acknowledged that the provision was removed from the draft legislation.

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