Former President Donald Trump has proposed the establishment of a free online university, funded by the federal government. The proposed institution, dubbed the American Academy, is part of Trump’s response to what he perceives as a bias in higher education towards left-wing ideologies.
The proposal comes amid heightened political scrutiny of U.S. universities, particularly in relation to their responses to recent conflicts in the Middle East. Trump has criticized these institutions for their perceived lack of support for Israel and for allegedly promoting communist and terrorist sympathies among students.
The American Academy would be funded through a tax on wealthy endowments, a strategy that has been favored by conservatives. Trump’s 2017 tax law imposed a 1.4% tax on the investment income of the nation’s wealthiest private universities, generating $244 million in 2022. Trump also suggested that additional funding could be obtained through fines and lawsuits against wealthy universities.
The proposed institution would offer various types of credentials, including degrees, that would be recognized by the federal government and its contractors. It would also award credit for past coursework, allowing students to complete their education for free.
This proposal represents a counterpoint to President Joe Biden’s efforts to provide debt relief to Americans with college debt. Trump’s plan targets the over 40 million Americans who have some college education but have not completed their degree.
Trump’s previous attempts to establish an educational institution, Trump University, ended in a $25 million settlement over allegations of fraud.
Read more at Politico.