Free community college is dropped from the Build Back Better Act, and other current student loan news for the week of Nov. 1, 2021

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President Biden’s economic recovery bill, the Build Back Better Act, doesn’t include student loan forgiveness and has dropped any provisions for free community college. Instead, the act focuses on creating job opportunities for middle-class families by making a college education more accessible. Here’s what you need to know about this week’s trends and how they could impact your student loans.

1 current trend within student loans for the week of Nov. 1, 2021

1. Build Back Better framework doesn’t include student loan forgiveness or free community college

Late last week, President Biden announced the framework for his latest economic recovery bill, the Build Back Better Act. This new framework slims down the bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, cutting out previous provisions that would have made two years of community college free for every student. Also absent is any form of student loan forgiveness.

With that said, students will still see benefits under this current framework. The administration is focusing on building the labor force through an equitable higher education system rather than forgiving student loan debt. “The Build Back Better framework will make education beyond high school — including training for high-paying jobs available now — more affordable,” the White House press release states.

Here are Biden’s higher education plans if the bill passes:

  • Increase the maximum Pell Grant by $550 and expand access to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
  • Invest in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to provide financial aid to low-income students and improve research facilities at the schools.
  • Invest in affordable job training in universities and community colleges.
  • Invest in degree-completion programs and practices.

How this affects student loans

In terms of college proposals, the current iteration of the Build Back Better Act would most benefit students with financial need; increasing the maximum Pell Grant award could reduce the need for student loans for students who qualify for aid. Students attending minority-serving institutions might also see indirect benefits in terms of better research programs and more financial aid opportunities.

In order for the bill to be signed into law, the framework must first be passed through Congress. If passed, the framework will act as a guide when drafting the legislation. While the president is calling on Congress to pass the bill as quickly as possible, there is no official timeline.

Key takeaway
President Biden’s most recent economic recovery bill no longer includes free community college but does promise more Pell Grant funds and other education investments.

Here’s how you can get prepared

Whether you’re new to student loans or well into repayment, it’s wise to stay informed about how your student loan rates could change. As 2021 continues, more opportunities for cheaper loans or loan forgiveness could open up; keep an eye on the Bankrate student loans news hub for the latest trends.

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Written by
Hanneh Bareham
Student loans reporter
Hanneh Bareham specializes in everything related to student loans and helping you finance your next educational endeavor. She aims to help others reach their collegiate and financial goals through making student loans easier to understand.
Edited by
Student loans editor