In California, Debt Free College May Be Happening Soon

California state lawmakers have announced their plans to help lower student loan debt. The lifelong worry of students having to repay high-interest loans may soon be over. State Assemblymember’s plans in California is to help nearly 400,000 full-time UC and CSU students pay for non-tuition-related expenses, such as books and housing. This plan will ensure that students will have a debt-free college experience. The entire plan would cost about $1.6 billion to create scholarships for students, according to what lawmakers estimate.

“This is my first year at CSUS and I am already extremely concerned that I will be in at least 40,000 dollars in debt by the time I reach graduation,” said CSUS student Katy Richardson. “Hearing about this new policy that will eliminate cost is a dream come true.”

According to The Legislative Analyst’s Office, this year more than half of California college students graduate with student loan debt, with debt for students from UC’s and CSU’s averaging at least $20,000. Lawmakers who are putting the plan together want to make Community Colleges in California tuition free for student’s first year. The proposal would expand existing grants and “degrees not debt” scholarships to students whose families make $150,000 or less per year, if those students work at least 15 hours a week and go to class.

“With these elements combined, this again would replace that necessity to go and get an outside student loan,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento.

This new plan raises concern amongst the Brown administration which may conflict with their proposal for Middle Class Scholarship in this year’s budget proposal. Many Democrat lawmakers believe that Brown’s plan will set families and students backwards and will not be an impact enough for students to come.

For many students and families this plan for “degrees not debt” can actually benefit everyone pursuing higher education. Now it’s up to all California lawmakers to ensure this plan is passed and ensure it will fix this current failed system.