Press Release

Sanders, Leahy bill: free college for all

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. 

Photo credit Unsplash

Categories: Press Release

11 replies »

  1. WHO is Going to pay for this FOLLY of a program? WHAT WE NEED is more Carpenters, Electricians Plumbers and Mechanics!!!

  2. Remember when college wasn’t meant for ALL? Remember when graduating college was an accomplishment? Kids are already graduating middle & high schools with deplorable skills & without basic knowledge. Somehow extending 4 more years of high school is yet another “new normal” we are supposed to contend with. To serve what purpose exactly???

  3. The tax may ostensibly target “Wall Street”, but as with all taxes, one way or the other, we the people foot the bill. New, or increased taxes are cost added, and will always be past down to the consumer. To describe subsidies through taxes as “free” is disingenuous at best as there will be cost added by these “targeted” businesses to absorb these costs. Beanie, and Fat Cat Pat know this. If there is one thing that pisses me of it’s someone believing that I am so stupid that they can pass off a lie to me like “free education” ! I am 65 years old, and have been paying local, state, and federal taxes since I was eighteen years old. I have never been married, or had kids, I therefore have been paying taxes for everybody else’s kids to go to get an education for 47 years. (your welcome!) I do not, nor have I ever bought into the socialist crap that “it takes a village.” It only took two to create the expense, it should only take two to pay for it. Yup I’ve heard the line that I myself benefited from  the present way of funding education. I am also expected to support through taxation every other hair brained socialist program that pinheads like Beanie Sanders says is for my own benefit. The time has come for us to admit, socialism is not coming, it’s here. It’s time for user fees. If I don’t use a service, why should I pay for it ? The sooner that people start taking responsibility for their own actions (including procreation) the sooner responsible people can start to realize the benefits of honest work. Chew on that comrades.

    • Exactly. The government is not your baby daddy. Stop rewarding procreation. Anyone who gets pregnant while they’re on any kind of government subsidy should immediately be cut off. I had one child and I busted my ass to support that child by myself. I have three college degrees that I paid for by myself and achieved while I was working full-time. We need more work ethic and less government interference.

  4. Just Pat and Bernie working hard to insure their next re-election campaigns.
    As long as there are voters that believe in “free stuff” these two will continue to be gods in the eyes of most Vermont voters.

    • I’ve lived in Vermont for 50 years. Nothing has changed – still the same old carp because Vermonters continue to believe lies spoken by the Dems! Will they ever learn – nothing is FREE! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

  5. Free collage for all is a great idea as long as the taxpayer do not have to fund it. Why pay for collage only to be indoctrinated into Socialism, Communism and Racism? The private entities who wish to fund it should do so.

  6. Somehow the U.S. Congress seems to believe that the trillions and trillions we’ve already spent on Covid relief, much of it going to either people or businesses that experienced no actual financial loss for Covid. Every dollar deficit spend now is an obligation for future years with interest. When attending post high school education, I noted the difference in attitude between students who apparently had their tuition and fees paid for by someone else versus those of us who had to take out loans. Those who took out loans were generally much more serious about our studies, because we knew at some point in the near future, we were going to have to pay that money back. If we didn’t take our studies seriously, finding a job would be more difficult and so would paying that loan. The same goes for choosing majors. It a person has some rich uncle or something and wants to choose a major which will likely be difficult to prepare them for a real job after graduation, fine, but for the rest of us, life needs to be a little more practical. Free tuition will allow students to graduate without crushing debt only because that crushing debt will be paid by the government. BTW, “crushing debt” is how I think about the money we’ve spent on the COVID-19 relief bills. Our grandchildren and possibly great-grandchildren will still be paying for that. Thanks to our Washington D.C. Representative and Senators for that.

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