Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to build America back better than ever and in order to do so, he is focusing his efforts on closing the equity gap that persists throughout America. On Tuesday, as part of his “Build Back Better” plan, the Biden campaign released an economic proposal aimed at achieving racial equity for communities of color. Included in the wide-reaching plan was a necessary provision for HBCUs.
In a statement from the campaign, they note that the former vice president is determined to have an economy where “every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead. An economy more vibrant and more powerful precisely because everybody will be included in the deal.” This includes an economy where “Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Native American workers and families are finally welcomed as full participants.”
Communities of color have dealt with longstanding economic inequality and the coronavirus pandemic has underscored some of the most persistent and pressing issues. That includes unemployment, homeownership, education, and entrepreneurship. The campaign highlights the fact that Black unemployment is at 15.4 percent, and Black-owned businesses are closing down at alarming rates.
In an effort to empower minority-owned small businesses, Biden is suggesting a “restart package” that would assist in ensuring that these business owners are stronger post-pandemic then they were going in. And for the HBCUs that have been hit hard by the economic turndown, he’s proposing an incentive for students to enroll in their programs. Under his Build Back Better plan, students receive tuition-free access to four-year public HBCUs and MSIs if their families earn below $125,000.
For those who have already graduated from these institutions, Biden says it’s time to cancel debts. Among other efforts to boost retention rates for African-Americans and give HBCUs a lifeline, Biden is ready to forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities and private HBCUs and MSIs for debt-holders earning up to $125,000.
“Stark racial disparities exist at every stage of our education system,” the campaign highlights. As President, Biden promises that significant investments will be made to even the playing field for communities so often left behind.