Self-proclaimed "Democratic-Socialist" Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his plans to introduce a new piece of legislation on May 19 that would provide free tuition in all public colleges throughout the United States.
Sanders says that the legislation is modeled after the college admissions process in Europe, where many nations pay for students’ costs during their four years at an institution.
“We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world,” Sanders said in a statement released on May 17. “That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt.
”Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people," he added. "They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth. We should be doing the same.”
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Sanders is currently the only challenger to frontrunner Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. His policies have been more liberal than those of Clinton’s, specifically when it comes to education and the minimum wage.
President Barack Obama has also looked to making college more affordable for students.
“I want to lower the cost of community college to zero. We can’t afford to let striving Americans be priced out of the education they need to get ahead,” the President said earlier this month, during a speech at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, South Dakota.
According to Bloomberg News, Sanders’ proposed legislation will also “substantially lower student debt and bring down interest rates on college loans.”
Sanders' plan to imitate European countries, however, may not be easy. For instance, Germany, which announced a plan to make their university system free last year, has a lower percentage of their grade school students go to college than the United States, providing less of a strain on the federal government’s student loans program, ATTN reported. Moreover, German citizens pay much higher taxes than American citizens, largely to cover the costs of all the government-run programs in the nation.
Photo Credit: Mother Jones, Brookings Institution/Flickr