Free College Tuition You Say????
In 2016 Bernie Sanders’ proposed free college tuition for all public universities. Was this a pipe dream or a glimpse into the future of education?
The College for All Act, “would have provided $47 billion per year to states to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities.”
Although the elimination of tuition at public universities would not have directly affected Marquette students, the act also had proposed major reforms to student loans, which would have been a big help to students at private institutions such as Marquette. “Student loan interest rates would be cut almost in half for undergraduate students” and would be guaranteed to not rise above a set percentage. The process for applying for student loans would be streamlined, no longer requiring students to reapply every year!
Perhaps, most compelling, The College for All Act aimed to increase the average education level of the United States’ workforce, of which it is currently ranked 9th behind such countries as Norway and Sweden, which both offer free college tuition.
Overall, the College for All Act attempted to make attending college easier for everyone. Sanders boasts that the act would be funded by a “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street. “It has been estimated that this provision could raise hundreds of billions a year which could be used not only to make tuition free at public colleges and universities in this country, it could also be used to create millions of jobs and rebuild the middle class of this country.”
This was definitely a compelling proposal that had the potential to help many people. It will be interesting to see if a plan like this ever comes to fruition, what the appropriate way to fund a program like this would be and the impact it may have on unemployment, quality of life and innovation in this country.