Two weeks ago, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the College for All Act, a drastic reimagining of college financial aid aimed at making education more accessible for all. Sacramento students are joining the nation-wide effort to put the bill into action.
The bill would eliminate tuition at community colleges for all and tuition at public, four-year institutions for many in addition to many other initiatives aimed at making education more accessible.
College For All Act Main Points
Click here for the College for All Act Fact Sheet.
- Tuition-free and fee-free community colleges
- Tuition-free public colleges & universities for families earning under $125,000 annually
- Tuition-free or significantly reduce tuition for low-income students at private, non-profit Minority Serving Institutions for families earning under $125,000 annually
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- Hispanic Serving Institutions
- Tribal Colleges and Universities
- Cuts student loan interest rates in half
- Ensures that rates for undergraduates remain under 5%
- Prevents the Federal Government from profiting off student loans
- Triples investment in the Work-Study Program, reaching about 1.4 million more students
- Expands TRIO and GEAR UP programs which assist first-generation and low-income students
Paid for by Wall Street
- The $600 billion cost will be paid for by a separate bill to tax Wall Street
- 0.5% on stock trades
- 0.1% fee on bond
- 0.0005% fee on derivatives
GenUp, a student-led advocacy organization, is mobilizing students across the nation this week to phonebank in support of the act.
Claire Nielsen, the president of GenUp Sacramento, expresses her support for the bill.
“Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to get higher education if they want to,” says Nielsen.
“Personally, it would give me more options. I could go to colleges outside of California without out of state tuition hindering me. I wouldn’t have student debt dragging me and my family down for the next however many years.”
She encourages everyone to back this initiative whether or not it will directly benefit them.
“Anyone with empathy should be able to see why college is important, especially for the people who have already been to college. Someone’s financial situation shouldn’t put them at a disadvantage,” Nielsen continues.
Imani Waweru, a senior at Rosemont and a member of GenUp Sacramento, adds “it’s necessary to reduce those racial and wealth disparities within the education system. The bill is targeting the right people — low-income students and students of color.”
The support for minority-serving institutions is aimed at closing the college race gap in which Black and Hispanic students are graduating at a lower rate than their counterparts.
One Hospital Corpsman from Sacramento also believes in Bernie’s cause. He describes how the high cost of college was the main reason he joined the Navy. The recruiters that came to his high school promoted the financial benefits of the military which were more attractive than the debt that would have been caused by college tuition.
He guarantees that would have gone straight to college had tuition been lower. He explains how the system that led to him joining the Navy needs to end.
“It’s exploitative. Having the possibility of having to shoot people to get basic human needs like housing, food, education and healthcare is barbaric.”
“I’m lucky. I’m in a position where I don’t have to carry a weapon or am even under fire but there is the possibility I could get called up for it,” he says.
With the cost of college increasing about 25% in the past decade, some students are finding the cost too heavy to bear. Perhaps America is losing out on many talented minds.
“Tuition is literally working against scientific progress and cultural progress. The more people who are higher educated the better in my opinion,” the corpsman continues.
Students are already under immense stress and pressure when it comes to preparing for the transition to college. This bill may be exactly what they need to turn college from a daunting possibility to a viable option.