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Free college for all Americans was one of Sanders campaign platforms which managed to garner the support of his younger audience during the primaries. The “College for All” act would eliminate college tuition at four-year universities for students from families that make up to $125,000 a year. Community college would be tuition-free.
“Our job is to bring forward a progressive agenda,” Sanders said. “We can win this fight when millions of Americans stand up and demand this legislation.”
During President Trump’s first three months, he has worked to repeal Obama-era regulations that limited rates loan agencies could charge people who chose to default on their student loans. Trump’s budget proposal made cuts to higher education funding for low-income Americans by a total of $5 billion. It would be difficult for a free college tuition plan to pass during Trump’s administration.
Even during the primaries, Hillary Clinton was a strong opponent for Sanders’ campaign promise as it had no income cap for those who would be eligible for free tuition. Sanders has pivoted on that point.
The plan would cost $600 billion, which would be financed by a tax on Wall Street speculation. The government would pay 67 percent of tuition subsidies. State governments would be required to pay the other third.
Students would be able to refinance existing loans at lower rates.
When Sanders first introduced a similar bill in 2015, he had no support from co-sponsors. Today there are five Senate members who are co-sponsoring the bill including Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Nidia Cavazos is a multimedia journalist with an emphasis on political reporting. She's contributed to Univision, KXAN, and USA Today College, and she was named one of six NBC Fellows by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2017.