Biden’s plans of action for 2021

Changes to education affordability

Alayna Ross

The United States has a new president as of Jan. 20. Joseph R. Biden has become the 46th president of the United States alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, who is the first female vice president in the country’s 243-year history.

As of Jan. 29, President Biden has signed 42 executive actions since coming into office. These executive actions cover a multitude of different sectors including, health care, environmental, equity, economy, COVID-19, census, immigration, ethics and regulation.

For healthcare, Biden has resumed enrollment on from Feb. 15 through May 15 and has instructed federal agencies to review policies that may decrease the accessibility to the Affordable Care Act. Biden has also made efforts to repeal the ‘Mexico City Policy,’ which bans U.S. government funding for foreign nonprofits that conduct or support abortions.

Biden has also made many changes to the United States’ environmental stance by putting the climate crisis at the forefront of national security and U.S. foreign policy. Biden has restored the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The United States also officially rejoined the Paris climate and has canceled the Keystone XL pipeline. Moving forward, Biden wishes to reverse over 100 Trump actions on the environment.

Equity has also been a large platform for Biden. He has passed executive actions that prevent workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, actions to prevent and address harassment and discrimmination against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, orders to cut federal contracts with private prisons, build relationships with tribal communities and reverse the ban on transgender Americans joining the military.

There are a multitude of executive orders that have been passed since Inauguration Day, including laying the groundwork for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, COVID-19 precautions and the end of discriminatory bans on entry to the United States.

However, there is a specific plan that has not been enacted yet, but has the potential to have a large impact on the students of Ashland University.

Biden has expressed his intention to address affordable education called “Plan for Education Beyond High School”. According to Joe Biden’s website, “Biden is proposing a bold plan for education and training beyond high school that will give hard-working Americans the chance to join or maintain their place in the middle class, regardless of their parents’ income or the color of their skin.”

In Joe Biden’s plan, he outlines an interest to invest in community colleges and training, encourage college as the solid pathway to the middle class and offer support to colleges and universities such as historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions.

Biden will enact legislation that will allow students attending school part-time and DREAMers to attend a community college for up to two years without having to pay tuition. This legislation will extend to adults who wish to pursue education beyond high school.

According to Joe Biden’s website, the plan will be a federal-state partnership, with the federal government covering 75% of the cost and states contributing the remaining responsibility, except in cases of Indian Tribes, in which the federal government will cover up to 95% of the cost.

Scout Weber, President of AU’s College Democrats, supports Biden’s stance on affordable education.

“I think his plan is a taking step in the right direction for making education more accessible,” Weber said. “Biden’s plan will not fix all of the problems with this, but it is a great way to open up the conversation for more opportunities in higher education.”

Biden has also offered up a plan to forgive student loans of $10-thousand per student. This program will offer $10-thousand of undergraduate or graduate student debt assistance to public servants for every year of national or community service, up to five years.

In 2009, the Obama administration attempted to alleviate the burden on college students by nationalizing all public loans. This meant that students could only borrow guaranteed loans from the federal government.

Joe Beaver, President of College Republicans, explains how Biden’s plan for loan forgiveness will hurt students more than it will help.

“President Biden is doubling-down on this [Obama’s student loan reform] failed policy with forgiveness of $10-thousand per student and nothing prevents each university from raising its costs by $10,000, voiding all benefit to the student,” Beaver said. “Pressure must be placed on each university for balanced budgets and limited bureaucracies; otherwise, Biden’s bandaid to the wound of student debt will hurt far more students in the coming decades.”

With differing views on Biden’s call to action this far into presidency, only time will tell what changes America will begin to see.

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