Apr 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Bernie Sanders and other progressives introduce bill pushing free college

 Sen. Bernie Sanders wears a mask while walking back from a vote on the Senate floor.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) makes his way back from a vote on the Senate floor on April 14. Photo: by Caroline Brehman-CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

Top progressives in Congress, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), introduced a bill Wednesday that would make college free for most Americans.

How it works: Higher education would be subsidized through taxes on many Wall Street transactions, NPR reports.

The College for All Plan, if passed, would guarantee tuition-free community college for all students. It would also eliminate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for families making up to $125,000 annually.

  • The legislation would further guarantee students from families earning under $125,000 a year can attend public and private, nonprofit Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions tuition- and debt-free.
  • The bill calls for an annual $10 billion federal investment to cover student support programs at those institutions.

Context: Recent research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute found loan forgiveness would do little to get to the heart of the problem, Axios' Dion Rabouin reported last month.

What they're saying: "While President Biden can and should immediately cancel student debt for millions of borrowers, Congress must ensure that working families never have to take out these crushing loans to receive a higher education in the first place,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

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