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Klobuchar's Plan: Free Community College, Expanded Pell

October 28, 2019
 
 

Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Democrat who is seeking her party's presidential nomination, on Friday rolled out a higher education plan that would fund free community college through a federal-state partnership, and which would substantially expand the federal Pell Grant program.

Klobuchar's tuition-free community college proposal is based on a bill from Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat. The feds would match $3 for every $1 from states for subsidies for students who qualify for in-state tuition, are enrolled at least half-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress. The plan would cover one-year certificates and associate degrees, as well as technical certifications and industry-recognized credentials. To be eligible, states would be required to maintain their support for higher education, limit tuition hikes and better ensure that students can transfer to four-year programs.

The plan would double the maximum annual Pell Grant award (to $12,000) and expand eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year. It also would increase investment in apprenticeships, improve tax incentives for employee training, expand childcare for students who are parents and include in-demand occupations for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

"To pay for these investments," according to the proposal, "Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital gains and dividends rate for people in the top two income tax brackets, limit the amount of capital gain deferral allowable through like-kind exchanges and implement the Buffet [sic] Rule through a 30 percent minimum tax for people with incomes over $1 million."

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