Bernie Sanders Announces College for All and Cancel All Student Debt Proposal

Bernie Sanders Announces College for All and Cancel All Student Debt Proposal

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders today announced his College for All and Cancel All Student Debt proposal, detailing the third plank of his 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights, the right to a complete education.   

“The American people deserve freedom — true freedom. You are not truly free when you graduate college with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt hanging around your neck,” said Sen. Sanders. “With this bill, not only will we guarantee the right of a good, public education for all from childcare and pre-kindergarten through college, we will free a generation from the outrageous burden of student loans by canceling all existing student debt.”

The proposal would guarantee a complete education as an economic right for all Americans by:

  • Making public colleges, universities and trade schools free for all
  • Canceling all student debt 
  • Making college debt-free for all
  • Investing in HBCUs and minority-serving institutions 
  • Ending equity gaps in higher education attainment 
  • Taxing Wall Street speculation to pay for it

In his 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights, Bernie Sanders declares that every American has the right to a complete education. In addition to today’s College for All and Cancel All Student Debt proposal, Sen. Sanders recently introduced the Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, a comprehensive plan to reinvest in K-12 public education and teachers.

Republicans and corporate interests have declared Bernie Sanders an “existential threat” and are pushing myths in the media about his record. Here is what you need to know about the myths told about Bernie Sanders’ College for All and Cancel All Student Debt plan:   

  • Myth: Bernie Sanders’ plan will be a drag on economic growth. 
    Truth: Exactly the opposite. Bernie Sanders’ College for All proposal will benefit everyone. It will create 1.5 million new jobs every year and boost our economy by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
  • Myth: Canceling all student debt is for wealthy white families. 
    Truth: Bernie Sanders’ plan would cut the racial wealth gap by more than half for young households. Black students graduate with some $7,400 more in student loans debt than white students. Just four years after graduating, the debt gap widens to $25,000. Additionally, this plan will provide Pell Grants to low-income to cover the non-tuition and fee costs of school, work to eliminate or substantially reduce tuition and fees at private HBCUs for low-income students and invest in TRIO and GEAR UP programs to end equity gaps in higher education attainment. 
  • Myth: Washington can not afford to spend this much money.
    Truth: If Wall Street can be bailed out for several trillions of dollars, 45 million Americans can and will be bailed out of the $1.6 trillion burdening student loan debt. Bernie Sanders’ proposes to pay for this by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent (0.5 percent tax on stock trades — 50 cents on every $100 of stock — a 0.1 percent fee on bond trades and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives trades) on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy a decade ago. This Wall Street speculation tax will raise $2.4 trillion over the next ten years. 
  • Myth: This will be a transfer of wealth to the top. 
    Truth: The bottom 80 percent in this country – those who are making less than $127,000 a year — hold $1.1 trillion of the $1.6 trillion total student debt. That means 73 percent of the benefits of cancelling all student debt go to the bottom 80 percent of Americans who are making less than $127,000 a year. How much of this proposal goes to the top one-tenth of one percent? Nothing.
  • Myth: College was never free, students today need to pay just as much.
    Truth: Attending some of the best public colleges and universities was essentially free for students 50 years ago. Now, students are forced to pay upwards of $21,000 each year to attend those same schools.  Moreover, federal Pell Grants covered nearly 80 percent of the cost of college 40 years ago – tuition, fees, room, and board. Now, Pell Grants only cover 30 percent of those expenses for college students today.
  • Myth: Tax cuts would be more effective to raise graduate’s wages.
    Truth: Trump said his tax cut would raise wages by $4,000 for average Americans–yet another lie. But a study on the effect of student debt cancelation found that those without debt had incomes $4,000 higher over a three year period.
  • Myth: This proposal is only good for young college graduates.
    Truth: More than three million Americans over 60 years old still owe student debt. Tens of thousands are having their Social Security checks garnished to pay them off. Parents who take out loans to help cover their children’s cost of college are struggling as well. In fact, PLUS loans are rising at a faster rate than student loans. Millions of borrowers leave college with debt who haven’t completed a degree, and many drop out or are considering dropping out to avoid incurring any more student debt. Total debt forgiveness will help millions of Americans across classes, races and ages. 

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