- Senator and presidential contender Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has introduced legislation that would make four-year public college free.
- He suggests paying for the federal government’s two-thirds share of the $70 billion price tag with a tax on Wall Street transactions, according to a news release about the bill.
- The legislation also includes provisions to address student loan debt, eliminating federal profits from lending, expanding work-study programs, and offering incentives to institutions to keep costs down.
Eliminating student loan debt has become a fixation on the left. Just this year, there have been proposals for free community college for all and debt-free college, and Sanders’ bill is offering a clear payment plan to cover the federal costs of such an initiative. Staggering debt loads with which students leave some for-profit and private colleges have received significant attention this year, especially with the debt strike by Corinthian College students refusing to pay back loans to an allegedly fraudulent institution.
Each successive graduating class has more average debt than its immediate predecessor, but the average hovers around $35,000, not the extreme $80,000 or $100,000 debt horror stories so frequently referenced. And average debt loads for students graduating from public institutions, the only ones that would be affected by Sanders’ legislation, are substantially lower than that.