On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as America’s new President and Vice President. Though a historic event, what does this change mean for Punahou students and the next generation? According to Biden’s extensive plan for students, he plans to improve the education system through college. This includes regulating firearms, investing in community colleges, reducing student debt, and supporting colleges.
By regulating firearms, the intent is that fewer school shootings will occur. By making schools a safer environment, students can learn without the stress of lockdowns and gun violence. An astounding number of students and schools have fallen victim to shooters, causing protests all around the nation. In 2018, Punahou students wore orange and left their classrooms to protest against gun violence. With the arrival of Biden, the students’ cries for help may be answered in the form of gun laws.
For many students, beginning their university education at community college is a good way to save money and get essential credits while staying home. The improvement of Community Colleges will make higher education more accessible for low-income students. Biden hopes to eliminate the cost of Community Colleges so that more students can attend. A free community college means that more students can be educated which will advance the work force, as well as the next generation.
Biden’s plan to reduce student debt includes halving the amount of student debt in America. In addition, those who make under $25,000 per year will not have any debt payments to ensure that they are able to live. Those who make more than $25,000 per year will pay 5% of their income (after taxes, and essential spending) toward their loans. After 20 years, loan forgiveness will be enacted for those who have followed the program responsibly, even if their loan is not fully repaid. Biden hopes that this plan will promote the idea of college to students who think they may not be able to afford it. This will also allow more people to go into professions that do not necessarily pay well. Those who currently have student debt will be enrolled in the program and he plans on putting in place a new tax code so that the forgiven debt will not be taxed.
President Biden has also promised to create a “Title 1 for postsecondary education.” This is a new grant program which will serve students at under-resourced schools. The grant will provide wraparound services and promote collaboration from colleges and community service groups. This grant will cover expenses that are necessary to keep students in school. For example, it could cover the cost of textbooks, child care, tutoring, mental health services, and transportation costs. These wraparound services will be for all students who require them, especially veterans, students of color, single parents, and students with disabilities. A portion of the funds will also be used to create an emergency fund for students who face an unexpected financial challenge that could force them to leave school.
These support systems for students are just a few of the many plans Biden has to make a stronger, more accessible middle class. He wants to create a more educated future so that America will be in good hands. However, only time will tell if his promises will be approved.
The information for this article is from Joe Biden’s website. See more of his plans here.