In his proposed budget for the 2022 fiscal year, President Biden on Friday requested big spending increases that would direct hundreds of millions of dollars to community colleges and minority-serving institutions, and would bolster financial aid for underserved and low-income students.
The new higher-education dollars would “help shrink racial gaps in higher education — which have worsened amidst the Covid-19 pandemic,” the White House said in a fact sheet outlining the budget.
Under the president’s budget, the U.S. Department of Education would receive over all a 41-percent increase in appropriations, including:
- $600 million more for programs that help enroll, retain, and graduate underserved students at community colleges and minority-serving institutions.
- $100 million, a 50-percent rise, in spending on programs that encourage underserved-minority students to pursue studies in the STEM fields, or science, technology, engineering, and medicine.
- A $400 increase in the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students, a move that would raise that amount to nearly $6,900. In the fact sheet, the White House called the proposal a “significant first step” toward doubling the Pell Grant, which student advocates have called for.
While the Biden administration’s budget plan reinforces the president’s priorities, it’s unlikely that the narrowly divided Congress would pass all, or even many, of the spending requests for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins on October 1.