This statement should be attributed to Sara Goldrick-Rab and Carrie R. Welton.
April 21, 2021
President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 discretionary budget request, released April 9th, demonstrates a continued commitment to #RealCollege students and families. The Hope Center’s recent report examining the pandemic’s impact shows that many students face unprecedented financial hardship and basic needs insecurity, making the Biden Administration’s proposals to build upon the American Rescue Plan Act even more critical.
The President’s budget blueprint calls for additional investments in institutional capacity, and student supports at community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other Minority Serving Institutions. These institutions are consistently underfunded yet serve students with fewer resources and higher levels of basic needs insecurity. The budget proposal would also make Title IV aid more inclusive and humane by extending Pell Grant eligibility to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
The budget request also increases federal support for programs that address basic needs insecurity, including $500 million for Homeless Assistance Grants and $30.4 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers. We strongly urge measures to ensure these funds are available to students in need of housing support. Over half of two-year college students report experiencing housing insecurity, and one-in-seven are affected by homelessness.
We are heartened to see a total of $7.4 billion proposed for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which will provide additional support to parenting students. Finally, we welcome the Administration’s renewed focus on expanding access to mental health during these challenging times through a proposed $1.6 billion investment in the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.
This budget proposal makes important strides toward building a safety net and higher education system that reflects the needs of #RealCollege students. We encourage the Administration and leaders in Congress to expand upon this proposal by making federal emergency aid permanent for students, removing student restrictions in public benefit programs, providing at least two years of free public education, and creating higher education funding formulas that better reflect the needs of part-time students. Overall, this budget blueprint proposes significant investments that can increase well-being and economic mobility. We are thrilled to see the Biden Administration continue to prioritize students and invest in programs that help students access, afford, and complete their education.