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Mike Unveils Bold Plan to Ensure College Affordability and Career Success for All Americans

Photo courtesy of Mike Bloomberg

Story courtesy of MikeBloomberg.com

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg released his plan to make college more fair and affordable, while also better-preparing Americans for success in the 21st century. Our higher education system is not fully delivering on its potential to be an engine of economic mobility and American prosperity. Americans owe over $1.5 trillion in federal student loan debt, employers say graduates don’t have the skills needed for workplace success and students from the top 25% wealthiest families attain 50% of all college degrees. As president, Mike will prioritize improving our education system so that it works for everyone by making college more affordable, leveling the playing field across race and income, and equipping students for good careers and greater economic mobility.

Mike’s plan stands in stark contrast to proposed rollbacks by the Trump administration that would deepen equity gaps and weaken student loan protections. The Trump administration is proposing drastic cuts to student aid programs, underfunding workforce development programs, and continues to protect predatory for-profit colleges and universities that in many ways resemble Trump University, the massive scam the president himself used to run.

“Education is the key to unlocking opportunity — I learned that firsthand. Growing up, I attended public schools and took out loans to attend college, where I worked at a campus parking lot. As mayor of New York City and through my foundation, I’ve worked to help many more attend and graduate from college — by making it more accessible and affordable, and by supporting education leaders that are doing great work in our schools,” said Mike Bloomberg. “As president, I will make college more affordable, so that no student ever forgoes college because of cost. I will make federal funding of universities – including HBCUs – more equitable. And I will make the application process fairer, by working to end legacy preference in admissions, so that genes no longer take precedence over grades. Every child deserves an equal opportunity to get a high-quality education – and I know we can deliver it.”

Mike believes that no one should be denied access to higher education because of its cost. His plan will increase college affordability by boosting Pell grants up to $13,000, and by making two-year public college tuition-free for all and debt-free for the lowest-income students. Mike’s plan will also make four-year public college tuition and debt-free for the lowest-income students while tackling the student loan crisis to ensure no one has to pay back more than they can afford.

Mike will combat the inequality in our current system to make sure all students receive the opportunities they deserve. He will call for an end to legacy-based preferences in admissions and provide support for low-income and middle-class students to attend institutions with strong completion and economic mobility rates. Mike will also work to combat the unacceptable underfunding of America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). He will significantly expand investments in HBCUs, tripling direct federal Title III funding and making substantial investments to help modernize their infrastructure and prepare graduates for careers in STEM fields.

And with two-thirds of today’s jobs already requiring some form of post-secondary education, Mike won’t just boost enrollment rates, he will make sure that students graduate with credentials and skills that prepare them for good jobs and careers. Mike’s plan will help 70% of Americans complete post-secondary degrees or quality credentials within a decade and have the skills needed to earn a family wage.

Americans need quality, affordable post-secondary education to get ahead and thrive. The well-being of our country and communities depends on a diverse, prepared talent pool to build our future, solve problems, and keep our economy growing. Mike’s plan promises that all Americans who would like to pursue higher education can do so.


Mike’s higher education plan is grounded in evidence about what works and in his success as both the Mayor of New York City and a leading education philanthropist. As Mayor, Mike took over a struggling school system and turned it into a national model of reform. He also backed the City University of New York’s pioneering CUNY ASAP program, which provides targeted advising and financial support to help at-risk students complete their degrees. As a philanthropist, Mike has led national efforts to increase the number of lower-income students enrolled in top colleges. And as a private citizen, Mike has invested more than any American in opening up post-secondary education to our students and helping them excel.

As president, Mike will:

1. MAKE COLLEGE AFFORDABLE: Double the maximum Pell Grant, make two-year college tuition-free for all and reform federal student loans so no one has to pay back more than they can afford.

  • Mike will expand Pell grants to help students cover the full cost of college. Mike will expand access and degrees for low-and moderate-income students by increasing the size of maximum Pell grants to $12,690 and removing current barriers for access to Pell Grants for DREAMers and formerly incarcerated students. Supplemental Pell aid would also be provided for institutions graduating large shares of low- and moderate-income students.
  • Mike will launch a federal-state funding partnership to boost states’ investments. Mike will provide a 2:1 federal match to states that commit to tuition-free two-year public or technical college, supporting funding for low-income students beyond tuition and fees — including books, meals, transportation and child care and make 4-year public college and universities tuition and debt-free for the lowest-income students. Mike’s plan will also expand funding to reduce the cost of textbooks and materials.
  • Mike will reform the federal student loan system so no one pays more than they can afford. Mike’s plan automatically enrolls all new and existing undergraduate borrowers in income-driven loan programs where they pay back what they can afford – capping repayment at 5% of monthly discretionary income, down from 10% today, on federal student loans up to $57,000. After 20 years, loans would be forgiven tax-free for borrowers with household income under $250,000. Mike will also help relieve existing student debt by providing targeted relief to borrowers who struggle the most and fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to extend debt relief to qualifying current public servants.

2. MAKE COLLEGE FAIR: End legacy admissions preferences and expand support for HBCUs and MSIs.

  • Mike will end admissions legacy preferences and improve fairness to the college-admissions process. He will call for an end to giving children of alumni advantages in the admissions process and support legislation to require institutions receiving federal aid to make public admission rates for legacy and non-legacy admittance along with enrollment and completion rates by race, income and legacy.
  • Increase completion rates for low- and middle-income students by helping more of them attend selective colleges with high graduation rates. Mike will expand federal support for quality advising and retention programs to help guide low-income students through cumbersome college-admissions and financial-aid application process. This plan will reward selective schools with high or substantially increased low-income and middle-class enrollment and completion — and publicize the best and worst performers.
  • Mike will expand direct investments into HBCUs, MSIs, and other institutions serving students from low-income backgrounds and underrepresented groups. Mike’s plan will triple federal Title III funding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and prioritize building and modernizing HBCU facilities. Mike’s plan also boosts funding to HBCU medical schools to increase the number of physicians of color and triples funding in Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) – including Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

3. MAKE COLLEGE COUNT: Help students complete degrees and equip them to succeed.

  • Mike will invest in plans and evidence-based strategies to boost college completion rates. Mike’s plan will incentivize states to increase degree and credential completion and equip graduates with skills needed for good-paying jobs while closing gaps for low-income students and underrepresented minorities. His federal-state partnership will also fund evidence-based strategies to help students graduate ready for success — informed by the successful and replicated CUNY ASAP and Georgia State models. Mike will also combat food insecurity by facilitating SNAP benefits and covering all meals for low-income students through expanded Pell grants and federal and state funding.
  • Mike will help working adults enroll in strong programs and get better jobs. Mike will encourage programs to re-enroll and graduate adults who have some college but no degree and pilot a system of Career Security Accounts, career advisors and grants to help part-time learners and working adults pay for quality training programs and move into in-demand jobs.
  • Mike will strengthen career-training programs so all students have the skills required for good-paying jobs. Mike will help build and upgrade programs and facilities at community and technical colleges working with employers to prepare students for in-demand careers and help enroll one million students annually in work-based degree and credential programs by 2030. His plan to modernize community colleges’ career programs will ensure they are fully accessible to students with disabilities.
  • Promote transparency by focusing the higher education system on student outcomes. Mike will work with Congress to enact and then implement the College Transparency Act to provide useful, accurate information to students and families by measuring and fairly reporting on student outcomes and improvements across institutions and programs.
  • Enact the Obama-era policy to ensure career programs lead to “gainful employment” and hold predatory for-profit institutions accountable when taking advantage of students and families.


Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island and Campaign National Co-Chair
“Economic experts agree the most important thing we can do to strengthen our economy is to have a more educated workforce. Mike Bloomberg understands this, and he has a plan to make sure everyone has access to affordable higher education. Tuition-free community college is one of the lowest-cost, highest-impact investments Rhode Island has ever made. Mike’s plan would allow more states to follow suit and ensure that all students are prepared for in-demand careers. We need bold leadership to ensure everyone has the opportunity for a good job and economic security, and I’m glad Mike is leading the way.”

Bev Perdue, Former Governor, North Carolina
“Learning doesn’t stop after high school or college. It continues throughout our lives. We need to make it easier for all Americans to be lifelong learners. Whether that’s on the job, after work, or between careers, we need a variety of programs that can accommodate all kinds of learners at every stage of life. Mike Bloomberg knows that the key to better wages is often industry-recognized credentials, and I applaud him for making sure that it’s never too late to earn them. Mike is a lifelong learner himself, and I can’t imagine someone better qualified to revamp the way we think about education than him.”

Dr. Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College
“Mike Bloomberg’s plan is forward-thinking and innovative. It is also rational and achievable. His higher education proposal rightly focuses on making college more affordable – but also more valuable. He believes in acknowledging that families are concerned about what their students and graduates will earn. Therefore, it only makes sense that he is a strong advocate for making paid, work-based learning experiences available to all students in the form of apprenticeships, internships, and more. I also strongly support his proposal that we double available Pell grants. It’s good to see a plan that makes education from all sectors more available to students.”

Dr. David Thomas, President of Morehouse College
“One of the biggest barriers to higher education is the price tag. Doubling the Pell grant program is an effective way to take down this obstacle for low-income and first-generation students. Pell grants work. They make college possible for so many intelligent young people. And, when these students graduate, they’re not crippled by debts they can’t pay back. They can accept jobs in their chosen professions and they can make valuable contributions to society — on their own terms.”

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University
“Higher education can open many doors, but it can also be very expensive. For low-income students, this hurdle sometimes closes the door altogether. I support doubling the Pell grant program — it’s good for all students — and makes it possible to learn without being hamstrung by insurmountable debt. And, income-based loan repayment makes a lot of sense, too. These policies are smart and well help so many students achieve their educational goals and future careers.”

Mark Becker, President of Georgia State University
“I am pleased to see that Mike Bloomberg’s higher education policy reflects specific proven programs that Georgia State and the University Innovation Alliance have demonstrated level the playing field for all students and make significant inroads on the college dropout crisis.”

Cordy A. McJunkins, Collegepoint alum and advisor
“CollegePoint has helped so many students like myself go to schools we never thought we could attend. I’m excited to see that Mike Bloomberg is proposing to spread these ideas as president so even more students can access the opportunities they deserve.”

Malika Franklin, CUNY ASAP graduate
“A higher education degree can open doors for you. It did for me. I graduated from the CUNY ASAP program, a program that helps students earn an associate degree in three years and supports us with access to advisors, career counseling, tutoring, tuition waivers, and financial assistance. I’m now getting my master’s degree at Baruch in higher education and I wouldn’t be here without programs like ASAP. Mike Bloomberg values higher education and believes we need more programs like ASAP. I agree. I have a job because of this program and my degrees have truly changed my life and the opportunities available to me.”