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Student Voices: College for All Plan

On April 21, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the College for All Plan, a bill that would effectively make college education free for community colleges and public trade schools. Additionally, for students from families making less than $125,000 annually, tuition would be erased at public four-year colleges and universities, as well as public and private historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions. The funding for this bill would come from taxation on stock and bond trades. The bill does not cover graduate school, private schools, or living costs of students, and states would lose the funding that state school tuition brings in.

Considering the pros and cons of this bill, what is your stance on how beneficial this bill will be for our country as a whole?

“I believe this bill will be beneficial for the country as a whole because it gives everyone a chance to get a higher education. Families with a lower annual income still have the chance to get into a great public school.” — Savanna Lee, 9

“Even with the method of payment on the table, I’m still not sure that this is going to be able to pay off the debts of so many students. A possible alternative method would be to increase the funding of the IRS, allowing it to actually collect more tax revenue effectively. — Kevin Sheng, 10

“I definitely see both pros and cons. My initial reaction was that it wouldn’t really be fair for the other people who pay their loans. However, I do feel like it could be beneficial for the country as a whole, since so many people do struggle from student debt.”  — Amelia Wirth, 11

“If this bill was theoretically passed in its entirety, it would be extremely beneficial to our society… Everything from the price of housing to the price of food is increasing… The only jobs that overcome that are those that pay well, which are mostly salaried skill based jobs in which employees are required to be college educated in some capacity. Unfortunately, that means that families that don’t have enough money to send their children are caught in that loop — they don’t have enough money to send their kids to college, and so they are stuck at the lower rungs of the income ladder, working low skill jobs. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken with the subsidization or elimination of public school tuition, which is what this bill is suggesting. However, tuition without a doubt is a huge source of income for these public schools. I fear that if this bill is passed and the state and federal budgets aren’t redistributed to prioritize higher education, this whole thing may backfire. Underfunded schools may lay off teachers, close off research facilities and other resources, and maybe even shut down entirely. So yes, I think this will be a great idea if there is a supplemental bill of some sort passed alongside it that would divert more money to education.” — Sahil Singh, 12

Do you believe that this bill has the potential from simply proposed legislation to reality?

“I think this has the possibility to be passed. It is a Democratic idea, and the senate is Democratic controlled. That, however, would depend on if the taxation went where it should go. However, there are Democrats like Joe Manchin who may oppose it so it’s up in the air.” — Jack Yin, 9

“I especially don’t think this bill has the potential to pass because of the senate with the filibuster; there’s no way Democrats can get the 60 votes needed to overturn it.” — Kevin Sheng, 10

“I think that this bill has the potential to become reality because it combines the goals of free school and removing student loans, which have each been viewed as unrealistic on its own. However, there will likely still be backlash from people who had to pay for school on their own before this bill, and people who wouldn’t be covered under the bill. Despite this, I think that the country as a whole is open to the importance of education.” — Jeslyn Wu, 11

“I highly doubt that the bill will be able to become reality as it isn’t really plausible for the set family income to be $125,000 nationwide. I also don’t believe that many Americans will support it, and there are still larger factors at play when it comes to college enrollment, such as siblings, the living cost of where the student attends, and so much more.” — Jennifer Gu, 12

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