By Guest Columnist Sarah Faure, ’16
As students who have spent years preparing for college, we have all come face-to-face with the difficult truth that college tuition is often more expensive than the average American’s house. In this highly competitive global economy, competition for jobs demands that we develop a highly educated work force. It is essential that Americans are educated and employed in order to strengthen our own economy. However, if people can’t afford to go to college without acquiring a massive debt, we are not strengthening our economy, we are weakening it.
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who’s concerned enough about the rising costs of education and its impact on the job market to develop a plan to address college tuition. Bernie feels strongly that a quality education is a basic human right and should not be available to only those who can afford to buy it. Therefore, he has proposed the “College for All” Act, based on basic principles.
First, Bernie says that all public colleges and universities should be free. Currently, the federal government is allowed to profit from the interest on student loans. While it is important for our government to have a highly educated workforce that can compete for high-paying jobs, the current model creates an incentive for the government that is a barrier to meeting this necessary goal. Bernie says that the solution is simple – do not allow the federal government to profit on student loans. This would reduce student loan interest rates that would make loans more affordable.
Second, this would be paid for by a “Robin Hood” tax on Wall Street. This tax would be a 0.5% speculation fee on investment houses, hedge funds and stock trades. Additionally, it would take a 0.1% fee on bonds and a 0.005% fee charged on derivatives. Analysis by University of Massachusetts Amherst has calculated that this would be up to $300 billion per year. This is more than enough to cover the cost of the free education which was priced at $7.5 billion per year.
The current trajectory of education places many Americans in a position where they either cannot afford to go to college or are buried in debt when they graduate from college. This will have a long-term and chilling impact on our economy. Let’s address this issue now and provide Americans with the tools they need to be able to provide for themselves. Let’s do what we can to prevent the welfare system from becoming even more over-burdened. Let’s all vote for Bernie Sanders.
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