Senator Bernie Sanders

Lawmaker introduces bill on free college, varsity education for US students

*In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, a higher education should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders in defending the proposal

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of President Joe Biden administration’s proposal to legally cancel student loan debt in the country, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is upping the ante by proposing a tax on Wall Street investors to provide free college education for students especially from families earning less than $125,000 a year in the United States (US).

ConsumerConnect gathered Sanders’ intention with the bill is to eliminate tuition at four-year public and private colleges and universities, while supporting historically minority higher institutions in the country.

US Graduates 

Bernard (Bernie) Sanders is an American politician, who has served as the junior US Senator from Vermont since 2007, and as Representative for the state’s at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007.

The Senator has introduced the College For All bill in the Senate, whereas Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) has sponsored the same measure in the House of Representatives in the US Capitol.

If enacted into law, bill would pay tuition for all students attending community colleges and public trade schools, agency report stated.

It would eliminate tuition at four-year public colleges and universities, but only for students from families earning less than $125,000 a year.

It would also provide the same support for public and private historically minority colleges and universities.

Education funding concept   Photo: Getty Images

If the bill is enacted into law, the US Government would provide 75 percent of the funding, with states providing the rest.

The federal government would raise money for the programme by placing a tax on Wall Street transactions.

Previously, Sanders was said to have proposed a tax on Wall Street to pay for public education.

Under that proposal, the tax on stock trades would be 0.5%, the levy on bond trades would be 0.1%, and the fee to the government on derivative transactions would be 0.005%. A summary of the bill suggests that would raise nearly $2.5 trillion.

There would likely be strong opposition to those numbers from various quarters, making it difficult to get the measure through a narrowly divided Senate.

As regards evolving the initiative on who would pay for the free education, it was learnt during the pandemic, millions of people began trading stocks using platforms like Robinhood and sharing ideas on Reddit.

Along with hedge funds, they would take a hit. So, would union pension funds, not to mention university endowment funds. Nearly all are invested on Wall Street.

Sanders, while defending his proposal in the Senate said: “In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, a higher education should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few.

“If we are going to have the kind of standard of living that the American people deserve, we need to have the best-educated workforce in the world.”

President Biden has yet to back a proposal for paying off student loan debt, which he earlier made during his campaign, when he assured that he would support forgiving up to $10,000 in student loans.

The administration, according to report, is now investigating whether the President has the legal authority to pay off $50,000 in loans per student in the country.

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