Free Public Education
Until the 1970s California was a leader in college affordability.
For years the UC system offered free tuition, helping students get an education without going thousands of dollars into debt. We committed ourselves to the idea that everyone deserves access to higher education, and that an investment in our students was an investment in our future.
To compete in today’s global economy, the United States must do the same. By the year 2030, 38% of jobs in California alone will require a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree, or a doctorate. If we don’t act now - by that time, California won’t have enough graduates to fill those positions.
Promoting affordable plans for community college, vocational schooling, and higher education will help us achieve the best-educated workforce in the world and ensure that our future leaders are given equal opportunity to succeed. This is why as Senator, I will join Senator Kamala Harris and co-sign the College for All Act. California deserves two senators who have the next generation in their forethought.
Eliminate tuition at public colleges and universities
Providing tuition-free entry to public colleges and universities would allow the United States to compete with Germany, Norway, and other countries around the world that already provide free education to their students. It would encourage people to pursue higher education and ensure that nobody needs to turn away from school because they can’t afford to go.
Here in California, I fought tirelessly for a similar policy, which eliminated fees for the first year of community college. Higher education should be an option for all students regardless of income. California is the world’s fifth-largest economy, and we cannot afford to fall behind the rest of the world when it comes to maintaining an educated workforce.
Reduce burdens beyond tuition
When the average student is graduating with nearly $30,000 in debt, it is not enough to only address the high costs of tuition. It is also important for legislation to address the other costs of a college education, such as housing, transportation, and book fees to make college costs more manageable.
Improving college affordability is a value I have fought for in California, passing legislation to establish the College Access Tax Credit and increase awards for nearly 197,000 low-income California college students to help with costs associated with attending college.
Address existing student loan debt
While eliminating tuition and expanding student aid helps future college attendees, it does not reduce the substantial debt burden already faced by millions of Americans. That’s why my plan would cut student loan interest rates and put measures in place to prevent the rate from rising. It would also allow existing borrowers to refinance their student loans at today’s low interest rates. Our government shouldn’t be profiting off student loans, and it definitely shouldn’t be charging our students more to borrow than it does the big banks.
It’s time to end the neglect of our nation’s students by Washington politicians and support college for all. Investing in our future is a necessity, not an option.