We have to stop burdening our students with outrageous amounts of debt.
College has become a dream that is weighed down with a giant price tag that an individual could only imagine taking on. Those who take that challenge face mountains of debt and are trapped in a devastating cycle of loans that will follow them for decades.
It was just thirty years ago that we led the world in the percentage of our citizens who have college degrees. Now we are in 12th place. And this crisis will only escalate, especially in California where 38% of jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or more by 2020.
To address this issue, I am introducing legislation with Senator Bernie Sanders and my colleagues that will make public colleges and universities tuition-free for the vast majority of Americans. And I’m asking:
This is an important issue, and I want you to know what this legislation does — both in terms of making college tuition free for the vast majority of people and to address the student loan debt crisis:
- College For All: Tuition and fees at public colleges and universities will be eliminated for roughly 80% of Americans (those making up to $125,000 a year.) In addition, all students regardless of income will be able to attend community colleges tuition free and low-income students at private colleges and universities that primarily serve underrepresented minority communities would see reduced tuition and fees as well.
- Beyond Tuition: With the average student taking on over $30,000 in debt, this bill will also address other costs beyond tuition — including aid to help students afford books, housing, and transportation, and other fees. It also provides funding for states to hire additional faculty and provide more professional development opportunities for professors.
- Student Loan Debt: Interest rates on student loans would be cut in half, a drop from 3.76% to just 1.88% for new borrowers. The bill also ensures that rates for undergraduates never rise above 5% and that existing borrowers will be able to refinance at lower rates.
We cannot sit idly by as we fall behind nationally and globally. We have to take action and address this crisis before it’s too late. Thank you for joining us in this fight.