Free public college
The traditional federal focus in higher education on supporting low-income students is being challenged on a number of fronts. In his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama first suggested supplemental federal funding for community colleges, regardless of the income levels of the students they serve. Since then, there have been a variety of federal proposals to provide institutional aid to all public colleges, including some 2016 presidential candidates who made similar proposals.
While this is not a priority for the Trump Administration, congressional Democrats remain interested. Most recently, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Democratic candidate for president, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), introduced the College for All Act (S. 806 full language). Many states are also considering legislation to make public four-year college free or debt-free.
Private non-profit colleges, public four-year, and public two-year colleges all have about the same percentage of Pell Grant students in their enrollments. All colleges serve a public mission, even if the independent sector does not get additional state support. The federal higher education investment must remain focused on low-income students, wherever they chose to attend