The right to have public education started being taken away from us in 1995, along with health care and many other public services. In the 1995 WTO GATS Agreement.
But GATS become contentious so, it didnt have the effectveness they wanted so TISA, and TTIP two currently pending trade deals are part of a plan to privatize (or "liberalize" public services globally - they are being threatened now.
Public higher education is under attack globally, and the US appears quietly be leading that attack.
the problem is, and they do not tell us this, jobs are going away. Many jobs are vanishing globally.
What does this mean in the context of Sanders announcement? It means that he needs to tell us the whole story.
Some sources of information on what amounts to an attack on free education
Education International - TISA, a threat to free quality public education
European University Association raises concerns about possible trade deals | InsideHigherEd
So again, jobs are going away at an exponentially increasing rate without free public education. To stay at the same place we need to learn much more.
This being the United States, though, which signed on to the most radical interpretation of GATS, any act which devalues the loan market for banks may have needed to be done before 1998, (See BCTF > GATS and Public Education - they didnt tell us this, because they were probably afraid of the public reaction, just like with health care. The long existing GATS's "Understanding on Committments in Financial Services"'s standstill clause, which is incorporated into TISA- most definitely applies - we know that from all sorts of sources, including the EUA - the European Unversity Association, and therefore TISA is quite likely to roll back any changes we make, soon if its seen as not being a trade liberalization - i.e. a privatization.
This is, paradoxically why we also need to make all education free to those who can handle it. the reason is that soon a majority of people pursuing higher educations will bluntly never get jobs. For people to have to go deeply into debt on such a risky situation is frankly intolerable but even more intolerable is what many want, only the wealthy being able to afford an education, and only the wealthy being able to participate in society, because without an education people increasingly cannot participate in real scientific or economic citizenship and are increasingly invisible and marginalized. .
We need to de-emphasize employment as the sole purpose of getting an education because getting that job is likely to require a PhD, and there will be a sieve like effect and most people will not get that far
Labor saving technology is improving very quickly, most of it will be invisible and non-dramatic, in computing and software
We really need to make education free before the "Standstill" clause in TISA or TTIP slams the door shut on loan-free education forever. Soon.
At that point, providing education will become framed as a theft of a business opportunity from a bank or a commercial entity.
A thorough examination of the TISA and TTIP "mandate" documents (links below) will show this if one examines the GATS Articles referred to, in particularly GATS Article 1:3 (Or GATS Article I:3) and the writing about it..
TISA negotiationg document ("Mandate" - You need to look up the GATS references one by one)