WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNS) – Lawmakers in D.C. have unveiled new legislation that would make many college degrees tuition-free.
Under this proposal, all students could get a degree at community colleges or trade schools without being charged tuition. For families making less than $125,000 a year, students could get a tuition-free four-year degree from public colleges and universities, as well as public nonprofit minority-serving institutions like historically Black colleges.
Under this proposal, the federal government would cover 75% of the tuition for those degrees, while state governments would cover the other 25%. In the event of an economic downturn, the federal share would grow to 90%.
To pay for that, the same senators have reintroduced legislation to tax the stock market. It would tax trades with stocks at 0.5%, bonds at 0.1%, and derivatives at 0.005%. Sanders says this will raise $2.4 trillion over 10 years.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that hundreds of thousands of bright young Americans do not get a higher education each year, not because they are unqualified, but because their family does not have enough money,” says Senator Bernie Sanders, who is independent but caucuses with Democrats.
The bills come as President Joe Biden considers executive action to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person. More than 44 million Americans have student loan debt, totaling more than $1.7 trillion.
Critics of that proposed executive action question whether it is fair to those who have worked hard to pay off their student loans. They also say it will not address the underlying causes behind the increasing cost of college tuition, which has been outpacing inflation for decades.