Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) today introduced the College for All Act “the most substantial federal investment in higher education in the modern history of the United States,” a statement from the Sanders office said.
While the Biden Administration reviews how much student debt the president can cancel without Congress, this bill is modeled directly after the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force proposal and the Plan for Education Beyond High School that President Biden campaigned on.
“In the 21st century, a free public education system that goes from kindergarten through high school is no longer good enough,” Sanders said. “The time is long overdue to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and debt-free for working families.”
The legislation if passed would guarantee tuition-free community college for all students, and allow students from families earning under $125,000 a year to attend public and/or minority-serving colleges and universities tuition-free and debt-free. The bill also allocates $10 billion annually to cover student support programs at minority-serving schools.
The College for All Act doubles the maximum Pell Grant to $12,990, allows students to use the money to cover living and non-tuition expenses, like books and housing, and expands grant eligibility to Dreamers. The legislation also triples federal TRIO and doubles GEAR UP funding to serve millions of additional low-income students, students with disabilities, and first-generation college students in their pursuit of a higher education.
The federal government’s share of the cost of eliminating tuition and fees at public institutions is set at 75% with states paying the remainder. But the legislation also includes an automatic stabilizer to increase that share to 90% in the case of an economic downturn.
The College for All Act is paid for by the Tax on Wall Street Speculation Act, also being reintroduced today by Sen. Sanders, that puts a tax of 0.5% on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bonds, and a 0.005% fee on derivatives. The tax would raise up to $2.4 trillion over the next decade. Rep. Barbara Lee will be reintroducing the companion for the tax legislation in the House of Representatives.
The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and endorsed by more than 100 organizations.
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Categories: Press Release