June 15, 2021

An argument against free community college tuition

Judy Woodruff: Now to the debate over providing free tuition for community college. Seventeen states…

Judy Woodruff:

Now to the debate over providing free tuition for community college.

Seventeen states already do so, and existing programs cover tuition for many students. but President Biden wants to make that happen nationwide. His plan starts with $109 billion to cover full tuition for community college. States would be asked to match a dollar for every three allocated in federal money.

His plan also includes an $85 billion investment in Pell Grants for students in need at both two- and four-year colleges. And there’s another $62 billion for resources to help students complete their degree, money for transportation and tutoring, for example.

We are going to get different takes over the next two nights for our series on Rethinking College.

To begin, I’m joined by Margaret Spellings, the former U.S. secretary of education under President George W. Bush, and the former head of the University of North Carolina system. She’s now president and CEO of Texas 2036. It’s a policy group to make Texas successful after its bicentennial.

Margaret Spellings, welcome back to the “NewsHour.”

Thank you for joining us.

I’m looking at something that President Biden said when he was making this proposal. He said: “It’s not enough to restore where we were before the pandemic. We need to build a stronger economy that does not leave anyone behind.”

What about that rationale for this?