This morning, long-time UE ally Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the College for All Act, a bill which will implement the UE demand that Congress “pass laws implementing free public higher education and student loan forgiveness for all.”
The legislation, which was endorsed by UE, along with the country’s two largest education unions, AFT and NEA, drew praise from UE members who work in higher education.
“The College for All Act goes a long way to addressing the systemic inequality that characterizes both everyday life in the U.S. and our system of higher education,” said UE Local 896-COGS President John Jepsen. Local 896 represents 2,000 graduate employees at the University of Iowa.
“As a public university instructor, I believe that nobody should have to go into debt to be able to access higher education,” added John Hedlund, chief steward of the North Carolina State Graduate Workers Union, a chapter of UE Local 150. “A just and equitable society should provide a college education as a basic right for all, not a luxury for the privileged few and a significant financial burden for everybody else.”
UE policy calls public education “one of the most fundamental cornerstones of a democratic society.” As Sanders noted when introducing the bill, “In the 21st century, a free public education system that goes from kindergarten through high school is no longer good enough.”
The College for All Act will be paid for by the Tax on Wall Street Speculation Act, also being reintroduced today by Sanders. The Tax on Wall Street Speculation Act puts small taxes and fees on stock trades, bonds, and derivatives, and will raise up to $2.4 trillion over the next decade.
“Free college is not a radical proposal, it is a tried and true idea across the world,” said Dan Stanfield, political action chair of Local 896. “Enacting it in America can protect the middle class, fight the racial wealth gap, and let students live their dreams without fear of debt.”
- Senator Sanders’ Press Release
- Organizational statements of support, including full statement from Local 896-COGS President Jepsen
- UE Policy: Stop the Dismantling of Public Education