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US: Democrats introduce Bill to make college free for all

Can Sanders bring a revolution to the higher education sector in the US? Pic: Reuters/Mary Schwalm.

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Democrat members of the US House of Representatives, introduced on Monday the College for All Bill, a piece of legislation that seeks to get rid of undergraduate tuition and fees for students at public colleges and universities.

According to a release by Vermont senator’s office, the legislation will “eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for families making up to US$125,000 — about 80 percent of the population — and make community college tuition- and fee-free for all.” The federal government will foot 67 percent of the bill, while states will cover the remaining 33 percent.

“Higher education in America should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few,” Mic quoted Sanders as saying in a release.

In addition to eliminating fees, the Bill intends to, among others, cut student loan interest rates in half and allow them to be re-financed at the lowest interest rate possible. Tuition and fees at an estimated 200 private institutions that serve “historically underrepresented minorities” are to be reduced or eliminated as well.

The Bill and its aims echo New York Federal Reserve president William Dudley’s warning yesterday that rising student loan debt levels could ultimately hurt overall home ownership and consumer spending, as well as reduce higher education’s purpose as a tool for upward income mobility.

In light of this, making college tuition-free would be a “reasonable conversation” to have, according to the policymaker.

Sanders in making his case for the Bill said: “If we are to succeed in a highly competitive global economy and have the best-educated workforce in the world, public colleges and universities must become tuition-free for working families and we must substantially reduce student debt.”

The Bill makes good Sanders’ presidential campaign promise last year to make college free for all. But with both chambers of the country’s legislature dominated by Republicans against the plan, it is not likely to even make it to the floor for a vote.

“There’s no such thing as free education,” President Donald Trump had once said at a town hall during the election.

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