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senate Bill S. 806

Should the U.S. Eliminate Tuition for Public Colleges and Reform Student Loans?

Argument in favor

Higher education plays an essential role in enhancing opportunity in the U.S. and across the globe. The cost of a public university should never be a deterrent to anyone who wants to improve their situation with education.

Daniel's Opinion
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04/17/2017
The 47 billion dollar cost of this legislation is a drop in the bucket compared to money wasted on Trump's border wall.
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Ami's Opinion
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04/17/2017
We need to invest in our future and the most clear cut way to do that is to make higher education more accessible.
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Slackferno's Opinion
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04/17/2017
If we want to compete on the global stage, we have to make secondary education attainable without decades of crushing debt.
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Argument opposed

This proposal would provide a free education to many students who could afford to pay for one. There are serious questions about whether it would make higher education less efficient and lower quality through reduced competition for students.

Audrua's Opinion
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04/17/2017
Instead of making public higher education free, work towards a way that decreases the costs of public higher education significantly.
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Matthew's Opinion
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04/17/2017
Things that are free lose their value over time. Something earned carries more incentive to work for. Plus we are trillions in debt and unless professors are going to work for free there is no way we can afford any program like this.
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Will's Opinion
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04/17/2017
Revise repayment rules instead. Auto loans and mortgages have lower rates than student loans.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    IntroducedApril 3rd, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. 806?

This bill would attempt to make higher education more attainable for all Americans by eliminating tuition at four-year public colleges and universities and reforming student loans.

It would authorize the Secretary of Education to establish grant programs to eliminate tuition and required fees at four-year public colleges and universities. The federal government would cover 67 percent of the cost, while states would be responsible for the remaining 33 percent — which comes to about $47 billion every year for the federal government’s share. It is expected to cost about $750 billion over the next ten years.

Federal funding would be provided by a ‘Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street’ — basically taxing a small percent of financial transactions involving stocks, bonds, and derivatives. The taxing scale is laid out by another bill, the Inclusive Prosperity Act.

To qualify for the federal grants this bill provides, states must maintain their spending on higher education, academic instruction, and need-based financial aid. Colleges and universities would be required to reduce their reliance on adjunct faculty — basically professors who don't have permanent or full-time positions (or a tenure track), making them less of an investment for the universities where they teach. States could use the grant funding to increase academic opportunities for students, hire new faculty, and provide professional development for professors.

This bill would also lower student loan interest rates by nearly half from 4.32 percent to 2.32 percent — while also setting an upper limit to prevent student loan interest rates from ever rising above 8.25 percent. Eligible borrowers would be able to refinance their loans based on interest rates available to current students.

Work study programs would be expanded to allow more students and colleges to participate in them. Funding for work study programs would be focused on schools that enroll high-numbers of low-income students.

A pilot program would be created to simplify the financial aid process, with a goal to allow students to only apply once (instead of every year they are in college) for financial aid. 

Impact

Current and potential students in state universities; faculty and administrators at these institutions; state governments, entities involved in student loans; and the Department of Education.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 806

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, the bill's sponsor estimated the cost to be $47 billion per year.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lamented the “crisis in higher education” when he introduced this bill's predecessor in the 114th Congress, adding: 

“It is a national disgrace that hundreds of thousands of young Americans today do not go to college, not because they are unqualified, but because they cannot afford it… In a global economy, when our young people are competing with workers from around the world, we have got to have the best educated workforce possible.”

This proposal has been criticized in a number of ways, with concerns that a lack of competition will lead to public universities feeling less pressure to serve students effectively. Another problematic area includes the centralization of authority in Washington, which many fear could inhibit innovation that might lead to more efficient ways of delivering higher education.

One writer called this bill a “cynical handout to the upper-middle class” that may “hit the jackpot of reducing college quality while also increasing cost” — noting that even after abolishing college tuition, students in Sweden graduated with the equivalent of $19,000 in debt.


Of Note: There are more than 40 million people in the U.S. with student loans, who are carrying a total of $1.1 trillion in student loan debt. As of 2009, about 56 percent of the U.S. population had at least attended college — and almost 28 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about two-thirds of students who graduated from high school in 2014 attended colleges or universities in the fall of that year.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "Berkeley15" by LAgirl5252 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

AKA

College for All Act of 2017

Official Title

A bill to amend the Higher Education Act to ensure College for All.

    The 47 billion dollar cost of this legislation is a drop in the bucket compared to money wasted on Trump's border wall.
    Like (573)
    Follow
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    Instead of making public higher education free, work towards a way that decreases the costs of public higher education significantly.
    Like (144)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to invest in our future and the most clear cut way to do that is to make higher education more accessible.
    Like (325)
    Follow
    Share
    If we want to compete on the global stage, we have to make secondary education attainable without decades of crushing debt.
    Like (224)
    Follow
    Share
    The greatest economic boom in human history occurred in the 1950s. That boom was a direct result of 16 million Americans being given free college tuition (the Montgomery GI Bill) in 1947.
    Like (181)
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    Public colleges and trade schools should be tuition free or extremely low cost. You want Ivy League knock yourself out, but pay for it. Private schools should be private pay. Religious schools should be private pay. Student loan debt should be forgiven.
    Like (133)
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    Things that are free lose their value over time. Something earned carries more incentive to work for. Plus we are trillions in debt and unless professors are going to work for free there is no way we can afford any program like this.
    Like (128)
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    Revise repayment rules instead. Auto loans and mortgages have lower rates than student loans.
    Like (102)
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    Expanded access to education improves the quality of life of the individual and productivity of a nation. Less crime, healthier citizens, happier people. I'd be happy to have my tax dollars put towards that goal than a larger military that the new administration is so focused on.
    Like (88)
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    This would be the ultimate economic stimulus to erase student debt and would free up income for the average American to buy homes and make capitalism great again!
    Like (63)
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    Free tuition means we join the rest of thr developed world. It also lowers the administration costs of calculating financial aid.
    Like (52)
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    I don't think making tuition free solves the problem. I know plenty of people, myself included, who have put themselves through college debt free. It's called working. I'm for reform on the student loan system, but I don't think I should have to pay into the system so someone else can go get a degree in German Polka History.
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    I urge you to support The bill to amend the Higher Education Act to ensure College for All. It is one of the best investments the government can make by investing in the future knowledge and talent of its citizens.
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    I might've known that some idiotic SOCIALIST like BS Bernie was behind this bill! What a STUPID IDEA! How stupid? Let me count the ways: 1. Student loans are a bad thing to begin with! Too many families or individuals take out loans, (i.e., GET IN DEBT!) and then later find out they got in over their heads financially. They end up defaulting on their loans, and taxpayers or banks are left holding the bag! 2. Very few Americans actually believe in living within their means. If they did, credit card companies would go out of business. IMO, that would be a GOOD thing! But Americans, for the most part, want instant gratification so they can "keep up with the Joneses." Ours is a throwaway, materialistic, spoiled rotten society. ONLY AN IDIOT, A BANK, A CREDIT CARD COMPANY, AND OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THINK DEBT IS A GOOD THING! 3. Students need more WORK-STUDY PROGRAMS instead of getting into debt, UNLESS they can qualify for some kind of scholarship(s). It builds character, instills in them a good work ethic, teaches them the value of a dollar, gives them a sense of pride and independence, and keeps them busy in a productive way. They don't spend as much time partying and getting drunk during their free time. BS Bernie's bill calls for government funding of work-study programs - BAD IDEA - another socialist ploy! No, do away with the minimum wage, or at least lower it. Let students compete for entry level part-time jobs. BUT they shouldn't have to compete with the ILLEGAL ALIENS for a job! IT WON'T KILL THEM TO HAVE TO WORK TO PUT THEMSELVES THROUGH SCHOOL! My older son did it! I was a single mom and couldn't afford to put him through college. He worked until he was able to earn a scholarship! 4. If you do away with tuition, who PAYS for the costs of teaching the students???! THAT'S RIGHT, YOU AND ME AND EVERY OTHER TAXPAYER! COLLEGES WILL HAVE TO DEPEND ON GOVERNMENT GRANTS AND/OR PRIVATE ENDOWMENTS. THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE IN A POSITION TO DEMAND CERTAIN ACTIONS OF THE COLLEGE ADMINISTRATORS THAT WE MIGHT NOT AGREE WITH! There are ALWAYS strings attached to government grants!
    Like (34)
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    An educated electorate is what will make America successful. Lack of this will gradually destroy us in the future.
    Like (33)
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    It would be incredibly evil to use other people's money on education while effectively devaluing that education by flooding the market with more people with degrees.
    Like (32)
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    We need free college tuition and reduced student debt.
    Like (30)
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    Only $2.08 of every $100 one spends in taxes goes towards education??? Surely we can find the budget for college tuition by appropriately spending OUR tax dollars. https://apple.news/AOQX3wQWGSymNro7OrpQQQg
    Like (27)
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    Economic status shouldn't prevent anyone from receiving higher education and having a more educated population will benefit our nation as a whole.
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    More entitlement? Free = no value. The recipients won't value this, and I'll be forced to pay for lazy Americans to be indoctrinated by the left.
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