Press Release

Build Back Better Act Includes Transformative Investments in Early Learning and College Access & Success, But More to Be Done on Addressing the Nation’s College Affordability Crisis

Statement from Denise Forte, interim CEO of The Education Trust on the Build Back Better Act:

WASHINGTON (October 28, 2021) – “The Build Back Better Act released today makes essential investments in the nation’s human infrastructure, from expanding access to early childhood education so all children are set up for success to boosting the purchasing power of the Pell Grant so students from low-income backgrounds can reduce their reliance on loans to pay for college.

“It also expands federal student aid eligibility to DACA, TPS, and DED recipients, making our higher education system more inclusive and more equitable, and provides vital funding for our nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities, which educate a disproportionate share of the nation’s college students of color despite having been cheated out of long-promised funding.

“The bill also creates a program to scale up evidence-based student success programs that increase college completion, funds programs to increase the diversity of our educator workforce, bolsters funding for home broadband connectivity for K-12 students, and allocates funding toward nutrition programs that feed students so they don’t go hungry and can learn effectively.

“Together, these provisions would make the American Dream possible for millions of students and their families. They must remain in the Build Back Better Act as it moves forward.

“At the same time, this bill reflects a failure on the part of Congress to reach consensus on fully addressing the college affordability crisis and the need to make substantial investments in raising the rates of college completion. Going forward, more should be done to scale the essential investments made in the bill. In particular, the absence of a federal-state partnership to create a pathway toward debt-free college is deeply disappointing and will mean the American Dream remains a dream deferred for too many. This bill leaves more to do to ensure students of color and students from low-income backgrounds have the same chances at educational success as their peers. We will continue this work with Congress, the administration, and our advocacy partners during this legislative process and beyond, and appreciate and understand the compromises required to produce this bill.

“Despite these concerns and the important work that still remains, this bill’s improvements to our nation’s educational systems will result in meaningful change for millions of students and families. We urge Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act through both chambers as soon as possible so President Biden can sign it into law.”