FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Biden Administration has recently announced a potential $1.8 trillion plan called the American Families Plan. A plan which included free community college and pre-school for every American.
“Certainly exciting news at the prospect of getting resources like that into the hands of potential students so they know that two years of their college education are going to be taken care of,” says Vice President of Student Services for Northwest Arkansas Community College, Dr. Todd Kitchen.
If this proposal were to go through he expects there to be a significant turnout.
“We know right now there is about 40% of the students that come to the community college come with federal financial aid. So if you eliminate the federal financial barrier, put more resources into the hands of people, you’re going to see enrollment spike tremendously,” says Dr. Kitchen
I also spoke to the Director of Business and Economic Research for the UofA, Mervin Jebaraj, he tells me a proposal like this has been a long time coming.
“This brings us in line with what other major nations have done. A lot more countries are providing straight-up free college education, but certainly providing free community college would make a huge difference,” says Jebaraj.
With the large potential turnout for free community college, Dr. Kitchen says additional planning on schools end could be necessary.
“I think immediately we can manage the growth. We’ll have to see how long this stays in place and how long that growth spike continues to look like and then plan accordingly,” says Dr. Kitchen.
After looking through President Joe Bidens American Families Plan proposal, Jebaraj tells me one aspect he found the most interesting was the sections that pertained to universal, quality-preschool for all three- and four-year-olds. Not only who it helps relieve some of the financial burdens of childcare, he believes it will help keep women in the workforce.
“The burden of childcare largely falls on women for young children. They drop out of the workforce and then as a result they struggle to get back in, struggle to get promotions, and pay raises at the same rate as their male peers,” says Jebaraj.
To pay for the plan, Biden proposes raising taxes for the wealthy, it also includes a rollback on parts of the Trump Tax cut from back in 2017.