Finally, for too long, the doors of higher education have been closed to too many because they cannot afford the cost. And this year and next double-digit tuition increases and tight education budgets in the states will make it harder to realize the hope of a college education.
Just as Social Security is a promise to senior citizens, we should make "Education Security" a promise to every young American. If you work hard, if you finish high school, if you are admitted to a college, we should guarantee that you can afford the cost of the four years it takes to earn a degree. Surely, we have reached a stage in America where we can say it and mean it - cost should never again be a disqualification for college.
Fulfilling that pledge will require a renewed resolve by everyone involved - families, colleges, states, the federal government. Families should pay what they can afford. Colleges should commit to keeping tuition increases down. States should continue as much support as they can for students, in hard economic times. And federal support should make up the gap that remains.
Making Higher Education More Affordable
A college education is becoming more and more important to success in the new economy. Workers with a college degree make 75 percent more than those without. Over a lifetime, a person with a college degree earns $1 million more than someone with only a high school diploma. But today, college is too expensive for too many families.
Democrats have a plan to help those families:
Increase the maximum Pell grant from $4,050 to $5,100. Under the Democratic plan, 4.8 million college students would see an average increase of $600 in their Pell grants, and almost 500,000 students would receive grants for the first time.
- Expand the HOPE scholarship program by doubling the tax credit, extending the program from two years to four years, and making it refundable. Over three million hard-pressed, middle-class families would see an increase of $9,00 [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]