US Senators push for free college for Connecticut working families

WTNH News 8

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) – US Senators from Connecticut, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy, joined US Senator Bernie Sanders to introduced legislation to make public colleges and universities free for working families in order to reduce student debt.

The bill would make four year colleges and universities free for families making up to $125,000. Public colleges and universities are already tuition-free in many advanced countries including Germany, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

“At a time when college remains out of reach for far too many, this legislation would make college tuition-free for working families, reduce student debt and breathe new life into the American Dream. I am proud to stand with Senators Sanders and Warren as we work to combat our country’s college affordability crisis,” Blumenthal said.

“Generations ago, America made a commitment to provide enough free education to every American so that they could obtain a good paying job. At the time, a 12th grade education was enough to compete for a good wage. Today, post-secondary schooling is required in order to survive, and our commitment to public education should reflect that reality,” Murphy said. “My wife and I are still paying back our student loans, but we’re some of the lucky ones who can save for our kids’ futures. Instead, too many families in Connecticut are suffocating under crushing student loan debt. We need to revolutionize the way we think about higher education and ensure colleges share responsibility for the success of their graduates. At the same time, we should make sure that cost is not a barrier to a college degree, just as it isn’t a barrier to a high school degree.”

The College for All Act would also reduce crushing student loan debt loads for students and parents which now exceed Americans’ credit card debt. Specifically, the bill would cut all student loan interest rates for new borrowers in half; enable existing borrowers to refinance their loans based on the interest rates available to new borrowers – less than 2 percent for federal loans made to undergraduates; and prevent the federal government from profiting off the student loan program.

Blumenthal, Murphy and Sanders introduced the bill in the Senate along with U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). In the House, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) joined Jayapal as co-sponsors of the legislation.