In case you haven’t been following it, all the presidential candidates are big on improving education and some are pretty close to enacting free college education. Here’s a snapshot on each presidential candidates’ stance in the area of education.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the biggest proponent of free college education, is proposing the College for All Act. It will allow any student to receive a tuition-free education from any HBCU, including private institutions, regardless of income.

He proposes tripling funding for the Work-Study Program and his plan will require participating states and tribes to cover the full cost of obtaining a degree for low-income students by covering any gap that may still exist after eliminating tuition, fees, and grants.

His plan will also match any additional spending from states and tribes which reduces the cost of attending school at a dollar for dollar rate, his website says.

“This funding goes beyond closing the cost gap — participating states and tribes could use this money to hire additional faculty, ensure professors get professional development opportunities, and increase students’ access to educational opportunities,” he said on the website.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has promised $50 billion in aid for HBCUs.   In July, she introduced a bill that would forgive approximately $640 billion of student loan debt, specifically for lower and middle-income earners. Warren acknowledged that Black borrowers, specifically those who have attended an HBCU, are most affected by the student debt crisis.  She will pay for this investment by taxing the wealthy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden introduces a $750 billion plan for higher education that would make free community college a main goal. The plan would also revamp troubled student loan forgiveness and repayment programs and boost funding for HBCUs, Politico reports.

Over $70 billion would be invested in HBCUs, tribal colleges and institutions that serve minorities, Politico reports.  He proposes doubling Pell Grants and slashing the income-based repayment of loans to 5% of income. 

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says that as president he would increase HBCU and minority-serving school funding by $50 billion. He will provide free tuition to low- and middle-class students and make basic living expenses free for the lowest-income students.”

His Douglass Plan, inspired by African-American hero Frederick Douglass, will emphasize building infrastructures and supporting the cultivation of a next generation of Black professionals in areas where there’s not enough representation because so many things won’t be solved until we fix it,” he told the Times and Democrat.

Senator Amy Klobuchar has “Many Paths to Success.” A post-Secondary Education Plan that aims to strengthen and increase affordability for HBCUs through her “Pathways to Student Success Initiative.”

Through the initiative, participating HBCUs and MSIs will receive federal funding to waive or significantly reduce the first two years of tuition for low-income students at four-year schools.  She would also double the maximum Pell Grant — which, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid — to $12,000 per year.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg leads national efforts to increase the number of lower-income students enrolled in top colleges. As president, he will make it a top national priority to increase student achievement, college preparedness and career readiness, according to his website. 

Bloomberg’s record on education and college access includes reforming policies that led to a 42% increase in graduation rates in New York City public schools, with African-American and Hispanic students making the biggest gains. He also doubled the education budget and gave a 43% raise to teachers, because he believes in paying teachers well and recruiting and retaining the best, according to his campaign website.

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