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2024 Presidential Campaign: Leading Candidate positions on Higher Education Policy and Legislation.

Donald Trump (Left) Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden (Right)
Donald Trump (Left) Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden (Right)

With the campaign season underway, it is an excellent time to share insights on the two leading candidates and their positions concerning Higher Education policy and legislation. One comparison that seems to be top-of-mind is the dichotomy between social and economic justice. The tug-of-war has voters trying to determine which presidential outcome would be better for themselves personally, but also for the larger economic landscape. We have seen voters debate based on their values and lived experiences, thoughts on the economy, and vision for American society beyond 2024.

The recent events taking center stage in matters of social justice have included pro-choice and pro-life discussions, diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) debates, and issues of continued racism and antisemitism being perpetuated across the country. The economic issues that have emerged as top priorities include discussions about the federal budget for the fiscal year, immigration and border security, as well as tackling inflation.

Looking specifically through the lens of higher education, a few insights have been summarized to provide perspective on candidate positions.

Joe Biden, President of the United States (Incumbent)

"Building an inclusive higher education system that delivers real value to students and promotes equity and upward mobility is essential to the Biden-Harris administration's efforts to grow America's middle class and strengthen our nation's global competitiveness." The plan discusses three main focal points 1) A series of summits highlighting how institutions can improve student success. 2) Recognize institutions promoting inclusive success by encouraging higher education leaders to commit to improving college completion rates and closing achievement gaps. 3) Fund evidence-based strategies for success through Postsecondary Student Success grants and Project SUCCESS. There is also a plan to fund a Postsecondary Success Technical Assistance Center (proposed by President Biden in his fiscal year 2024 budget).

This summit initiative was recently developed in response to the Supreme Court decision in Students for Free and Fair Admissions. The Biden-Harris Administration developed a report on strategies to increase diversity and opportunity in higher education, stressing the importance of supporting community college transfer students. The press release notes “given that many students of color and students with low incomes start their higher learning at community colleges, improving transfer pipelines from two-year to four-year colleges is a key strategy that states and institutions can consider as they commit to missions of greater diversity.

“The President's plan would provide more students with access to high-quality career and technical education programs that expand access to computer science, connect underrepresented students to careers in STEM and in-demand, high-growth industry sectors that include partnerships with institutions of higher education, employers, and other stakeholders.” This initiative would allow students to engage in work-based learning opportunities, earn a credential, and earn college credit as stated in the reporting. President Biden also plans to strengthen partnerships between High School and Postsecondary landscape with programs such as Dual Enrollment.


Donald Trump, Republican Candidate, and former President of the United States

Its mission will be to "make higher education available to every American, free of charge, without adding a single dime to the federal debt." This institution also seeks to develop quality educational content covering all knowledge and skills competencies and make that material available to every American citizen online for free. Lectures, history, finance, or training in a skilled trade. The overall goal will be to deliver courses, using study groups, mentors, industry partnerships, and the latest breakthrough in computing. Trump states that The American Academy would compete with the four-year university systems by granting students degree credentials that the U.S. government and all federal contractors would recognize. The Academy will award the equivalent of a bachelor's degree.

Previous Legislation: The Future Act 2019

Previous legislation passed by the Trump Administration includes a permanent funding bill for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), along with Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Schools, and Underrepresented entities of education overall. The bill also chipped away at simplifying the FAFSA application.

"The law created new opportunities to improve CTE and enable more flexibility for states to meet the unique needs of their learners, educators, and employers,” said Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education. Provisions in Perkins V allow school districts to use federal funds to provide all students, not just those enrolled in CTE, career exploration and development activities in the middle grades and for comprehensive guidance and academic counseling in the upper grades.

What seems to be most valuable for the higher education landscape in the next decade? Have these implementations been impactful at the state and local levels for higher education institutions? As we think about who we'll be voting for in the upcoming election, we know that the Higher Education Act of 1965 has also been on the docket for several amendments, that may impact the college experience going forward. As the campaigns march on, we'll continue to dialogue and share across the profession, to support the steady improvement of postsecondary education.

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Rebuttals are always welcome,

Jade M. Felder


1 comentário

Dont be fooled by campaign tactics. Results are in education.

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