Free College Bill Proposed by Bernie Sanders

Free College Bill Proposed by Bernie Sanders

04.26.21
Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images
04.26.21

The largest student loan cancellation and free college plan in history could be on the way. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal proposed Wednesday the College for All Act. The bill would make community college free to everyone; make public four-year colleges and universities tuition-free for all students from families earning less than $125,000 a year; and double the Pell Grant to almost $13,000. 

Doubling Pell Grants would allow students to use the funds to cover living and non-tuition expenses like books and housing and expands grant eligibility to undocumented students.

Sanders said the Act is the largest investment in federal education in modern history and rivals the Higher Education Act of 1965. 

The proposed Act would also guarantee students from families earning under $125,000 a year to attend — tuition-free and debt-free — Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. It would also provide an annual $10 billion federal investment to cover student support programs at these under-funded institutions. 

Millions of student loan borrowers collectively hold $1.7 trillion of student loan debt. 

“In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, a higher education should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few,” Sanders said, according to Forbes. 

The bill proposes the government pay for free college by imposing a tax on Wall Street. Sanders reintroduced the Wall Street Speculation Act, which would raise up to $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, and it would be charged to financial institutions. 

The federal government would also aid 75% of the cost of free college at public schools, and states would pay 25%.

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