Last May, Bernie Sanders, Democratic candidate for the US presidency, produced a bill entitled “College for All Act.” This proposed bill would provide government subsidization of state universities, awarding free tuition for all students who attend those institutions.
Other provisions of the proposed bill include a reduction of student loan interest from a staggering 4.32% to a lower 2.3%, as well as removing the requirement that students reapply for financial aid each year. Other candidates for president have aims for implementing free continuing education, but Sanders is the first to outline a viable plan.
ENC students voiced their own opinions about Sen. Sanders’ free tuition plan.
Senior Jamie Hultgren said, “College students and post-graduates are drowning in debt to earn a degree that may or may not get them a job, and something absolutely has to change.”
With a price tag of roughly $750 billion over the next ten years, Sanders’ bill will require extensive funding.
To fund the bill, Sanders has decided the best course of action is to place new taxes on Wall Street, suggesting to impose a “speculation tax” of 0.5% on investment houses, hedge funds, and other stock trades. He aims to charge a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives.
Hultgren went on to say that “Bernie believes that the government should invest in its citizens and the economy by providing free education at public universities.”
There are several countries that provide tuition-free college, such as Germany, Sweden, and Mexico, with fair levels of success. These countries have proven that public investments into college education can produce a successful outcome.
Sanders’ “College for All Act” even has some conservatives moving to his camp. With the introduction of his bill, Sanders’ ideas have the potential to appeal to a large portion of the voting American public- especially the youth population.