Harris Touts Biden’s Free College Plan, Debt Cancellation During Debate With Pence

By Owen Daugherty, NASFAA Staff Reporter

In answering a question about how to jumpstart the economy amid a recession set off by the ongoing pandemic, vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) touted the free college and debt cancellation plan put forward by her running mate, Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Harris said under a Biden administration, two-year community college will be free and four years at public universities will be free for families earning under $125,000.

“And across the board, we'll make sure if you have student loan debt, it's cut by $10,000,” she added. “That's how Joe Biden thinks about the economy, which is it's about investing in the people of our country.”

Specifically, Biden’s plan for postsecondary education would allow students of all income levels to attend public community colleges in their state of residence tuition-free and cover tuition at four-year public colleges and universities for students hailing from families with incomes under $125,000.

A recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) estimates Biden's free college plan could cost as much as $49.6 billion in the first year and could reach a total of $683.1 billion after 10 more years.

The report also found the additional tax revenue the plan would generate would outweigh the costs within 10 years.

Harris also spoke of her experience as the attorney general of California, when she took on "for-profit colleges who were taking advantage of veterans."

As attorney general, Harris sued for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges, accusing it of false and predatory advertising and intentionally making misrepresentations to students, among other things.

Harris’ comments Wednesday were the first to touch on higher education. Neither her opponent, Vice President Mike Pence, nor Biden or President Donald Trump touched on the topic.

For details on the candidates’ higher education policies, be sure to visit NASFAA’s Presidential Cheat Sheet and stay tuned to Today’s News for additional insight into the candidates’ pledges for higher education.


Publication Date: 10/8/2020

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