It’s looking like college funding may take center stage during the 2020 election cycle. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) reintroduced the Debt-Free College Act of 2019 on March 6th. The bill has four cosponsors who are presidential contenders: Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA) Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
The main purpose of the bill is to cover not only tuition and fees, but other college expenses like books, room, and board. In order to receive federal funds, the bill requires states to commit to what it calls a “debt-free college commitment.” which requires partner states “to cover the unmet financial need for all eligible students.” You can read more about that here.
Here are two additional changes the Debt-Free College Act of 2019 would make:
1) Schatz’ bill would send federal funds for college to drug offenders.
Under the Higher Education Act of 1965 a student convicted of a first time possession or sale of a controlled substance would be ineligible for federal grants, loans, and work study funds for up to one year following their conviction. For a second offense, they’d be barred for two years, and for a third offense, indefinitely.
The Debt Free College Act of 2019 aims to repeal that rule.
2) The law would make DREAMers eligible for federal financial aid.
S.672 would change the law which currently prohibits the children of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16–DREAMers–from obtaining federal grant, loan, and work assistance monies. Qualifying students must have come to the U.S. before they were 16, be able to list the secondary schools they attended in the U.S., and meet certain other requirements.
All students receiving financial aid, including DREAMers, would have to fill out a FAFSA, and be awarded aid based on their financial need. No government monies would be awarded above actual costs, but the law allows students to seek private financial aid in addition to the federal and state dollars they’re awarded.
What does this mean for homeschoolers?
Well, we’re taxpayers. Most of us want to send our kids to college. Not only are we footing the bill for our kids’ educations by purchasing our own materials while we fund the local public schools our kids don’t attend, but we’re also putting in the elbow grease it takes to get our kids ready for college, usually relying on one family income to make that happen.
The Debt-Free College act of 2019 will cost around $90 billion, according to NBC News.
This bill, while it sounds nice, would add a tremendous financial burden to a system that’s already grossly overpriced for the value it provides.
This is just another episode in the saga of skyrocketing college costs and the major burden of student financial aid.