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Editorial: Promising free education

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By | The Lumberjack Editorial Board

Hope is in sight. Despite the new Presidential administration’s barrage of legislation that raises the cost of higher education, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). re-introduced the College for All Act.

Sanders’ 2015 dream of tuition-free education came a step closer to reality. Along with Sanders, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) presented the bill on April 3.

Although a glimmer of hope exists, we still have to be wary of the reality of the state of politics. The power has changed hands from Democrats to Republicans. Democrats passing legislation with a Republican House and Congress seems unlikely. Republicans are flexing their power by enacting their educational standards and repealing any policies adopted or created under the Obama administration.

As promised, the College for All Act makes all community colleges tuition-free and offers free public tuition at four-year colleges and universities for students earning less than $125,000 a year. The bill calls for the federal government to pay 67 percent of tuition subsidies, leaving state and tribal governments to cover the last third of the cost. The bill also looks out for students already struggling with student loan debt.  The bill cuts the government lending rate for new undergraduate borrowers to 1.88 percent and refinances loans for existing borrowers at lower rates as well.

Republican and Democratic views on our education system are counterproductive. The current GOP’s proposed budget cut of $9 billion to the Department of Education eliminates chances for low-income students to earn a college education. These policies snatch the money away from students while the College for All Act gives it back with interest.

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