Presidential Candidates on Higher Education

Rachelle Peterson

Candidates for president are talking a lot about higher education.

Among the Democrats, how do the many "free college" plans compare? Who has proposed forgiving student loan debt? What do the candidates think of for-profit institutions? What have they said about vocational training?

And what is President Trump’s higher education record—on free speech, student loans, accreditation reform, and more?

Today, NAS releases an updated chart comparing the top five Democratic contenders across ten policy issues. We also add a section on President Trump’s higher education agenda.

Click on a candidate's name to find out what Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg have planned for higher education if they become President of the United States, and what President Donald Trump has indicated as his higher education agenda if he wins re-election.

Since we released the first version of this chart, Joe Biden has released a full higher education plan, and many candidates have expanded their higher education agendas.

Free College

Debt-free community college: “Providing two years of community college or other high-quality training program without debt.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Money for costs beyond tuition: “The Biden Administration’s community college initiative will be a first-dollar program, meaning that students will be able to use their Pell grants, state aid, and other aid to help them cover expenses beyond tuition and fees.” Incentivize states to provide “wraparound support services” that “range from public benefits and additional financial aid to cover textbook and transportation costs that often keep students from staying enrolled, to child care and mental health services, faculty mentoring, tutoring, and peer support groups.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Double the Pell Grant: “Double the maximum value of the Pell grant… and will automatically increase the value based on inflation. … Given the program’s formula for determining eligibility, [this will] expand the benefits of Pell to more middle class Americans.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Illegal aliens and prisoners: Debt-free community college would include “those attending school part-time and DREAMers (young adults who came to U.S. as children).” Will also “restore formerly incarcerated individuals’ eligibility for Pell.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Debt Forgiveness

Forgive debt after 20 years of income-based repayment: “Everyone [with income above $25,000] will pay 5% of their discretionary income (income minus taxes and essential spending like housing and food) over $25,000 toward their loans. … After 20 years, the remainder of the loans for people who have responsibly made payments through the program will be 100% forgiven.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Forgive debt for those “deceived by” for-profit institutions: “Return to the Obama-Biden Borrower’s Defense Rule, forgiving the debt held by individuals who were deceived by the worst for-profit college or career profiteers.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

No taxes on forgiven debt: “Biden will also change the tax code so that debt forgiven through the income-based repayment plan won’t be taxed.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

New Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: “Offer $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt relief for every year of national or community service, up to five years. Individuals working in schools, government, and other non-profit settings will be automatically enrolled in this forgiveness program; up to five years of prior national or community service will also qualify. Additionally, Biden will fix the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by securing passage of the What You Can Do For Your Country Act of 2019. Biden will ensure adjunct professors are eligible for this loan forgiveness, depending on the amount of time devoted to teaching.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Permit discharge of private student loans in bankruptcy: “In 2015, the Obama-Biden Administration called for Congress to pass a law permitting the discharge of private student loans in bankruptcy. As president, Biden will enact this legislation.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Total estimated cost (according to the campaign)

$750 billion over ten years. Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

How to Pay for New Spending on Higher Education

Tax the rich: “This plan will be paid for by eliminating the stepped-up basis loophole and capping the itemized deductions the wealthiest Americans can take to 28%.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Leverage states for debt-free community college: “This plan will be a federal-state partnership, with the federal government covering 75% of the cost and states contributing the remaining obligation. The federal government will cover up to 95% of the cost for Indian Tribes operating community colleges serving low-income students.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Other Proposals on Student Debt

Freeze payments for those making less than $25,000 a year: “Individuals making $25,000 or less per year will not owe any payments on their undergraduate federal student loans and also won’t accrue any interest on those loans.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Believes More People Should Go to College?

Yes. "The middle class isn’t a number—it’s a set of values (such as) … sending your kids to college. … Across the country, too many families are being left behind." Joe’s Vision.

“In today’s increasingly globalized and technology-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and earn a middle class income.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Affirmative Action

Reinstate the Obama-era guidance on affirmative action, which declared racial preferences a compelling state interest. Education.

Fund programs that target graduates of HBCUs and other MSIs: “$5 billion in graduate programs in teaching, health care, and STEM and … develop robust internship and career pipelines at major research agencies, including Department of Energy National Laboratories, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)

Invest over $70 billion: This includes “$18 billion in grants … equivalent to up to two years of tuition per low-income and middle class student, including DREAMers.” “$10 billion to create at least 200 new centers of excellence that serve as research incubators and connect students underrepresented in fields critical to our nation’s future.” “$20 billion in infrastructure.” “$10 billion in programs that increase enrollment, retention, completion, and employment rates.” “$5 billion in graduate programs in teaching, health care, and STEM and … develop robust internship and career pipelines at major research agencies, including Department of Energy National Laboratories, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense.” “$7.5 billion over the first ten years” by tripling and making permanent Title III and Title IV grants in the Higher Education Act. Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Force federal agencies to eliminate “disparities” in grants to HBCUs and MSIs: “Require federal agencies and states to publish reports of their allocation of federal funding to colleges and universities. When inequities exist between HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and similar non-HBCU, TCU, MSI colleges, federal agencies and states will be required to publish robust rationale and show improvements in eliminating disparities year over year.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Priority for federal research grants: “Dedicate additional and increased priority funding streams at federal agencies for grants and contracts for HBCUs and MSIs. …Require any federal research grants to universities with an endowment of over $1 billion to form a meaningful partnership and enter into a 10% minimum subcontract with an HBCU, TCU, or MSI.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

For-Profit Colleges

Require for-profits to “prove their value to the U.S. Department of Education”: “The Biden Administration will require for-profits to first prove their value to the U.S. Department of Education before gaining eligibility for federal aid.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

End the 90/10 rule: “Enact legislation eliminating the so-called 90/10 loophole that gives for-profit schools an incentive to enroll veterans and servicemembers in programs that aren’t delivering results.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Vocational Training

Make “high-quality” programs debt-free: “Providing two years of community college or other high-quality training program without debt for any hard-working individual looking to learn and improve their skills to keep up with the changing nature of work.” “High quality” programs are described as “training programs that have a track record of participants completing their programs and securing good jobs.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Invest $50 billion: “Make an investment of $50 billion in high-quality training programs. Proposes “strengthening the Registered Apprenticeship Program and partnering with unions who oversee some of the best apprenticeship programs throughout our nation.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Other:

$8 billion for community colleges: “Invest $8 billion to help community colleges improve the health and safety of their facilities, and equip their schools with new technology.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Consider a 12-month academic calendar: Promote “guided pathways that provide a sequence of classes for a specific area of study; shifting toward a 12-month academic calendar; better aligning high school, community college, and four-year college courses; providing college credits for quality, degree-related on-the-job training; and offering degree-related paid internships for course credit.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Work-study: “Prioritize the use of work-study funds for job-related and public service roles.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Save the financially unstable colleges: “Biden recognizes the critical role low-endowment private colleges and universities play in providing educational opportunities and jobs in many rural communities. As president, he will establish an innovation competitive grant fund for these institutions.” Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School.

Fund rural colleges to promote “a low carbon future”: “Provide [colleges and universities] with significant funding for deployment of a place-based plan to help their state or region build a competitive and low-carbon future in manufacturing that reflects climate impacts in their local communities.” Biden Plan for Rural America.

Free College

Make all public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships free for everyone: "Pass the College for All Act to provide at least $48 billion per year to eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Make private HBCUs and MSIs free for all low-income students. "Provide $1.3 billion to private, nonprofit HBCUs and MSIs every year to eliminate or significantly reduce tuition and fees for low-income students." There would be no tuition remission at other private institutions. College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Money for costs beyond tuition: "Provide Pell Grants to low-income students to cover the non-tuition and fee costs of school, including: housing, books, supplies, transportation, and other costs of living. Require participating states and tribes to cover the full cost of obtaining a degree for low-income students (normally those with a family income of less than $25,000) by covering any gap that may still exist after we eliminate tuition, fees, and grants. …Triple funding for the Work-Study Program." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Debt Forgiveness

Cancel all student debt: "Cancel all existing student debt." "Cancel the entire $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt for the 45 million borrowers." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Why? "Bernie believes our country is morally bound to close the racial wealth divide. In order to do that we are going to cancel all student debt." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Total estimated cost (according to the campaign)

$2.2 trillion. College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.
 

How to Pay for New Spending on Higher Education

A Wall Street tax: "This Wall Street speculation tax will raise $2.4 trillion over the next ten years. It works by placing a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades – 50 cents on every $100 of stock – a 0.1 percent fee on bond trades, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivative trades." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Other Proposals on Student Debt

Cap interest: "Cap student loan interest rates at 1.88 percent." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Believes More People Should Go to College?

Yes. "In the 21st century, a free public education system that goes from kindergarten through high school is no longer good enough. Higher education should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few. ...Double funding for the TRIO Programs and increases funding for the GEAR UP Program so more low-income students, students with disabilities, and first-generation students can attend and graduate college with a degree." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Affirmative Action

"We are going to end the racial and class disparities that persist throughout higher education." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Use OCR: "Fully fund the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and remove current protocols that allow for arbitrary dismissal of complaints." A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education.

HBCUs

$1.3 billion per year: "Provide $1.3 billion to private, nonprofit HBCUs and MSIs every year to eliminate or significantly reduce tuition and fees for low-income students." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

For-profit Colleges

(no comment)

Vocational Training

Free tuition: "Eliminate tuition and fees at ... trade schools, and apprenticeship programs." College for All and Cancel All Student Debt.

Other

Title IX: "Protect women from harassment, discrimination, and violence in educational institutions by protecting and enforcing Title IX." Fight for Women’s Rights.

Free College

Free public two-year and four-year college for everyone: "Give every American the opportunity to attend a two-year or four-year public college without paying a dime in tuition or fees... The federal government will partner with states to split the costs of tuition and fees and ensure that states maintain their current levels of funding on need-based financial aid and academic instruction." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Possible free private HBCUs and MSI: “Private HBCUs and MSIs would also be able to opt into the federal free-tuition program available to public colleges." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Money for costs beyond tuition: "Invest an additional $100 billion over the next ten years in Pell Grants — and expand who is eligible for a Grant — to make sure lower-income and middle-class students have a better chance of graduating without debt. " Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Debt Forgiveness

Cancel debt based on income: "Cancels $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with household income under $100,000. It provides substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000. The $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000, so, for example, a person with household income of $130,000 gets $40,000 in cancellation, while a person with household income of $160,000 gets $30,000 in cancellation." This includes private debt. Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

No taxes on cancelled debt: "Canceled debt will not be taxed as income." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Total estimated cost (according to the campaign)

$1.25 trillion over ten years: "Experts estimate my debt cancellation plan creates a one-time cost to the government of $640 billion. The Universal Free College program brings the total cost of the program to roughly $1.25 trillion over ten years." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

How to Pay for New Spending on Higher Education

“Ultra-Millionaire Tax”: "The entire cost of my broad debt cancellation plan and universal free college is more than covered by my Ultra-Millionaire Tax — a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Partner with states for free public college: “The federal government will partner with states to split the costs of tuition and fees and ensure that states maintain their current levels of funding on need-based financial aid and academic instruction." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Other Proposals on Student Debt (no comment)

Believes More People Should Go to College?

Yes: "Like K-12 education, college is a basic need that should be available for free to everyone who wants to go." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Affirmative Action

Funding conditioned on higher minority enrollment and graduation rates: "Make additional federal funding available to states that demonstrate substantial improvement in enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Annual audit by public colleges: "Require public colleges to complete an annual audit that identifies issues creating shortfalls in enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color and that proposes steps to improve those rates." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

HBCUs

$50 billion fund: "Create a fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). The fund will have a minimum of $50 billion, but the Secretary of Education will have the authority to increase the amount of money in the fund as needed to ensure that spending per-student at those schools is comparable to colleges in the area." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

For-profit Colleges

Ban for-profits from federal funding: "After an appropriate transition period, ban for-profit colleges from receiving any federal dollars (including military benefits and federal student loans)." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Vocational Training

$20 billion: "We currently invest $200 million annually in apprenticeship programs. We should increase that tenfold and make a $20 billion commitment to apprenticeship programs for the next ten years." A Plan for Economic Patriotism.

Other

Illegal aliens and criminal history: "Prohibit public colleges from considering citizenship status or criminal history in admissions decisions." Universal Free Public College and Cancellation of Student Loan Debt.

Train diplomats: "Establish a diplomatic equivalent of the ROTC program at universities across the country." Revitalizing Diplomacy.

Target rural areas and areas with job loss: Focus research and development spending "in every part of the country — not just the coasts — by sending money to consortiums of land grant universities, to targets situated in rural areas, and to areas that have seen the worst job losses in recent years." My Green Manufacturing Plan for America.

Free College

Free community college and debt-free four-year public colleges: "Make community college free, make four-year public college debt-free." Debt-Free College and Student Debt.

Debt-free HBCUs and MSIs: "As president, she’ll continue her lifelong commitment to these landmark institutions (Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)) by making attendance debt-free for students.” Fighting for Racial Justice.

Pell Grants remain available for non-tuition costs: “Provide an income boost to nearly 1 in 7 Pell Grant recipients through her LIFT Act, the largest tax cut for working Americans in generations.” Debt-Free College and Student Debt.

Debt Forgiveness

Debt forgiveness for Pell recipients who start a business in disadvantaged communities: "Establish a student loan debt forgiveness program for Pell grant recipients who start a business that operates for three years in disadvantaged communities. Participants can have up to $20,000 of debt forgiven and can defer all of their student loans, interest-free, during a business-formation period that can last for as many as three years.” Reducing the Opportunity Gap.

How to Pay for New Spending on Higher Education

(no comment)

Other Proposals on Student Debt

Refinancing and Income-Based-Repayment: "Immediately allowing current debt holders to refinance high-interest loans to lower rates, expanding Income Based Repayment (IBR) to ensure no student pays more than they can afford." Debt-Free College and Student Debt.

Believes More People Should Go to College?

(no comment)

Affirmative Action

Concerned about segregation: “65 years after Brown v. Board, opportunity is still denied and educational segregation is getting worse.” Fighting for Racial Justice.

HBCUs and MSIs

Debt-free for students: "As president she’ll continue her lifelong commitment to these landmark institutions by making attendance debt-free for students and making a multi-billion investment in programs that teach the next generation of leaders of color." Fighting for Racial Justice.

$60 billion for STEM at HBCUs and MSIs: "$10 billion infrastructure grant program" and $50 billion "to fund undergraduate and graduate scholarships, fellowships and internships for students, as well as the institutional and curricular support STEM students need.” Reducing the Opportunity Gap.

$2.5 billion to prepare Black teachers: “2.5 billion to support HBCU programs that will generate Black teachers.” Reducing the Opportunity Gap.

Priority for federal research grants: “Direct the Pentagon to work with HBCUs and other MSIs to engage these institutions in DoD-funded basic and applied research opportunities.” “Direct federal research and grantmaking agencies to drive more opportunities to HBCUs. She’ll ask the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation to facilitate HBCU and broader MSI participation in federal research grants.” Reducing the Opportunity Gap.

For-profit Colleges

“Cracking down”: Campaign website touts Harris’s history of "cracking down on for-profit colleges and lenders that defraud our students. As Attorney General, Kamala took on Corinthian Colleges, one of the largest for-profit college scams in the country, and obtained more than $1 billion in relief for students and veterans." Debt-Free College and Student Debt.

Vocational Training

(no comment)

Other

(no comment)

Free College

Make public colleges debt-free for low-income students: "For lower-income families, we must make public college truly debt-free. We can do this through a state-federal partnership that makes public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes…. Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.” Higher Education.

Pell for non-tuition costs: “A large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation." Higher Education.

Debt Forgiveness

Debt forgiveness for students at “low-quality” programs: "We will cancel the debts of borrowers in low-quality, overwhelmingly for-profit programs beginning with those that failed federal “gainful employment” rules designed to ensure students receive an adequate return on their investments where the federal government should never have allowed students to enroll." The Douglass Plan.

Debt forgiveness for Pell Grant-eligible students who start a business: "We will introduce the Walker-Lewis Debt-for-Jobs Plan to help students start businesses. Every student who was eligible for Pell Grants while in school will have his or her college loans deferred and forgiven over a five-year period if they start and maintain a business employing at least three people within five years of leaving school." The Douglass Plan.

Possible debt forgiveness for those who complete a service fellowship: "Consideration for public service student debt forgiveness, vocational training, and hiring preference for service fellows." A New Call to Service.

How to Pay for New Spending on Higher Education

Partner with states for debt-free public college: “We can do this through a state-federal partnership.” Higher Education.

Other Proposals on Student Debt

“Affordable” debt: “Ensure all student loan borrowers have affordable and safe ways to manage their debt. The Douglass Plan.

Pell grants for prisoners: “We will restore Pell Grant access to people who are incarcerated.” The Douglass Plan.

Believes More People Should Go to College?

(no comment)

Affirmative Action

Funding for Black students in STEM: “Increase federal investments and incentivize state and local investments in … college programs to increase readiness and competitiveness for Black women and men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and fields of growing employment opportunities.” The Douglass Plan.

HBCUs and MSIs

$50 billion: “Invest $50 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving institutions (MSIs).” Higher Education.

For-profit Colleges

Debt forgiveness for students at “low-quality” programs: "We will cancel the debts of borrowers in low-quality, overwhelmingly for-profit programs beginning with those that failed federal “gainful employment” rules designed to ensure students receive an adequate return on their investments where the federal government should never have allowed students to enroll." The Douglass Plan.

“Strict standards”: "Apply strict standards to for-profit higher education institutions. Higher Education.

Vocational Training

Service Year Fellowships: "Fund the Serve America Act to increase paid service opportunities from 75,000 to 250,000 in the existing federal and AmeriCorps grantee organizations and through new Service Year Fellowships, targeting high school, community college, vocational, HBCUs and MSI students, and opportunity youth (out of school and work)....Consideration for public service student debt forgiveness, vocational training, and hiring preference for service fellows….Our intention is for this proposal to create a pathway towards a universal, national expectation of service for all 4 million high school graduates every year, such that the first question asked of every college freshman or new hire is: “where did you serve?”” A New Call to Service.

Other

“Ban the box”: “Support ban the box initiatives” to “ensure that people with convictions have the freedom to access education.” The Douglass Plan.

Transparency: “Ensure the highest degree of transparency and accountability for higher education institutions.” Higher Education.

Unlike Democratic contenders, President Trump has not released a higher education agenda for 2020. Instead, we draw from his administration’s record on higher education and the statements on the White House’s Education page and his campaign website’s Promises Kept: Education page. Because his priorities are different from the Democrats’, few of the ten areas listed below overlap with those on the Democrats’ lists.

Student Debt

Skin in the game: “Require postsecondary institutions that accept taxpayer funds to share in the financial responsibility associated with student loans.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Cap loans: “Research shows a correlation between the availability of Federal student aid and tuition increases. … To address rising debt, the Administration proposes establishing common-sense limits on Federal student loans…. Congress should institute Parent and Grad PLUS loan limits.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

One income-based repayment plan: “Consolidate the five income-driven repayment options into one simple plan that caps monthly payment at 12.5 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Loan forgiveness

Forgive all debt after 180 months repayment and eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness: “Congress should extend loan forgiveness to all undergraduate students (after 180 months of repayment through an income-driven repayment plan). This would support all American students – pursuing any career – and eliminate the biases and administrative complications of the “Public Service Loan Forgiveness” program.” (italics in original) Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Should more students go to college?

Students should consider alternatives: “The last century has produced an American economy where more jobs than ever before require at least some postsecondary education or skill development. Wage premiums and job security continue to be associated with postsecondary education or skills attainment; however, the rising cost of college education and the accompanying growth in student loan balances erode the wage premium associated with a college degree. It is therefore the policy of the Trump Administration to increase access to affordable, flexible, and innovative postsecondary education and skills attainment to meet the interests and lifelong learning needs of every American. Unfortunately, many colleges and universities have been unable or unwilling to provide the necessary types of education in a cost-effective manner.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Deregulation

“The Dept. of Education has identified and withdrawn nearly 600 regulations that are deemed unnecessary.” Promises Kept: Education.

“Secretary DeVos paused the Obama Administration’s Borrower Defense to Repayment and Gainful Employment regulations.” Promises Kept: Education.

Title IX

Due process: “Secretary DeVos rescinded the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and 2014 Q&A regarding Title IX enforcement, and interim guidance was issued.” Promises Kept: Education.

HBCUs and MSIs

President’s Board of Advisors: “Make permanent the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Interagency Working Group responsible for improving the capacity of HBCU’s (sic) to continually improve the identity, visibility, distinctive capacity, and overall competitiveness of HBCUs.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Free speech

Filing statements of interest: The Justice Department has filed statements of interest in four First Amendment cases involving students’ free speech rights: Speech First, Inc., v. Schlissel (Michigan “bias response teams” case), Young America’s Foundation and Berkeley College Republicans v. Janet Napolitano (case involving administrators’ unfettered right to impose curfew, security costs, undesirable venues on “high profile speakers”), Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski (Georgia Gwinnett College “free-speech zone” case), and Shaw v. Burke (Los Angeles Pierce College “free-speech zone” case).

Religious freedom

“Students of faith”: “Ensure that students of faith are able to attend schools that reflect their values.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Accrediting

Mission-based, not geographic, accreditors: “Congress should eliminate the archaic distinction between accreditors with a geographic scope and those with a mission-based scope. Mission, not geography, defines academic institutions. Likewise, accreditors today operate nationally and should be defined by the academic mission of the institutions that they accredit. While the Department of Education should hold all accreditors to the same standard, a nationally competitive, mission-driven system will allow for increased differentiation between institutions and accrediting bodies, providing useful information to consumers.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Vocational training

“Market-driven workforce development programs”: “Congress should establish a pilot program to increase access to market-driven workforce development programs. More than half of current students are classified as “nontraditional,” yet many institutions of higher education have not adequately addressed their unique needs. Non-traditional students interested in accelerated paths to careers should have access to innovative providers who can more effectively meet their needs.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Pell for short-term programs: “Expand Pell Grant eligibility to include high-quality, short-term

programs that provide students with a credential, certification, or license in a high-demand field.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Other

Career-oriented work study: “Congress should reform the Federal Work Study (FWS) program to support workforce and career-oriented opportunities for low income undergraduate students, not just subsidized employment as a means of financial aid.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Funding for former prisoners: “Provide targeted Federal financial aid to prisoners eligible for release to improve employment outcomes and reduce recidivism.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

Program-level accountability: “Ensure students have the program-level earnings and outcome data they need to make better informed choices about potential careers and educational opportunities.” Proposals to Reform the Higher Education Act, March 2019.

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