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Watch Live: Sanders Says Time Is Now To Lift Burden of Debt With Tuition-Free College for All


Watch Live: Sanders Says Time Is Now To Lift Burden of Debt With Tuition-Free College for All

Jon Queally, staff writer

"Each and every American must be able to get the education they need to match their skills and fulfill their dreams."


I’m a Bernie supporter still donating to his ongoing political efforts, but his call for free college tuition at public universities and colleges, while welcome and essential, falls well short of major denting the costs of a college education. Most of the approximately $30,000 per year cost of attending full-time goes to expenses in addition to tuition costs, which are about a third of the annual total. And this idea is not new. Last I recall, into the 1970s the nation’s two largest state university systems in California and New York were tuition free (California) or provided assistance sufficient to cover the tuition (New York) for most resident (in state) students. Still, $80,000 for a four year course of study today leading to a degree is a lot easier to manage than $120,000.


I can still remember the cringe worthy response from Hillary Clinton:

“I don’t want Donald Trump’s kids going to public university tuition free.”

As if the children of the very very wealthy represent say 20% of undergrads at say the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Crap that intelligence insulting eventual “nominee” for the Democrats was more insulting than Trump in some regards. Trump at least understood that workers in Michigan were/are really hurting.

Now, no, Trump has no idea that there are 23 year olds with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt–with only Walmart job prospects. But Hillary didn’t really understand that either.

And Trump listens to jerks like Ryan and Walker who want to turn state university systems into trade schools.


He’s not asking for enough.

Cut the interest rate of existing student debt in half? So the 1.3 Trillion dollars of principal remains and they just pay less interest?

Why not shoot for the moon in your initial proposal? Why not suggest we use quantitative easing to cancel all existing student debt?

Why compromise before the fact?


New York City’s university system was tuition free for full time students until the mid 1970s. Most students lived at home with their parents.

At the same time, New York State’s system was not free, but tuition was much less than today, and one still had to pay for room and board.

The UCal system was tuition free for instate students until the late 1960s, then came Ronny. Students always had to pay room and board, or say live at home with parents.


When my wife and I attended SUNY Plattsburgh and Geneseo in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in-state tuition was $200 a semester for undergrads, who almost all received what was termed a “scholar incentive” cash award of $200 each semester.


During my undergraduate years in the early 70s community college tuition was $25/quarter and California State U. was $60/quarter. Books and lab fees were 2 to 3 times what tuition cost. You could meet expenses working a minimum wage ($1.60/hr.) job. At a time when 30 year mortgages were 7% I got a student loan that started accruing 3% interest six months after I graduated or dropped out. By the time I graduated mortgages were 9% and accelerating upward, so making monthly payments carrying the 3% rate was no sweat even though I was still making minimum wage that was increasing based on an accurate consumer price index (CPI) that later became bogus once Saint Ron moved into the White House.


Interesting, that’s about $1200 per semester, so $2400 per year.

As I said much cheaper back then.

You did have to pay for your dorm room right?


Okay, there are better ideas.

But they’re always there.

Why ask for near perfection from an already much much better candidate?

I’m frankly horrified by Sanders pushing the “Russian election meddling” garbage. And yes has done so real recently.

Let’s see him reject that. Dare to blame Hillary’s crap campaign for her loss. Better to do it today in 2017, than in 2019.


There was a law on the books that linked the federal minimum wage with the CPI in the 1970s?

Right, Ronny is responsible for all sorts of abuses, like Greenspan’s faked inflation numbers.


Because you begin with asking for the ideal and then compromise to get something better than what we have. But if you compromise to start with you set yourself up for something even less than that.

I will not stop pushing for the best. I’m surprised Sanders is willing to compromise on this from the get go.


Yes, we need to demand a mile to gain an inch.

Its always been that way.

Democrats demanding an inch ever since the 1985 Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formation has resulted in the 99% not only gaining nothing but has resulted in losing a lot. Although progress on social issues plus two bucks buys a cup of coffee, progress on economic issues is what is needed to pay the bills.


State initiatives to lower college costs have been tried. Overall these efforts were screaming successes.

California in the 1960s tried nearly free college tuition. The area around their state’s engineering school, Stanford, hasn’t had any unemployment at all in 50 years. Another place with perpetually zero unemployment is the immediate area around the Massachusetts state engineering school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Many other states tried running their state engineering schools into the ground. I guess that worked too, so congrats, legislators.


Yes. And also all books, meals, transportation, etc. Still, as you note, pretty darn cheap. It’s my understanding that the tuition explosion that swept the state universities in the 1990s was dedicated to administrative costs.


Sanders is the best thing to happen to this country in a long time. Those who would sacrifice his message for the sake of some hypocritical purity are bordering on being trolls! Young people in this country need access to free education. That is what is real! He supports single payer Medicare for all and that is real! He wants a livable minimum wage which is real and all of the above were sacrificed by the purity trolls last time around!

One other thing which shows just how sincere Sanders really is … is how he speaks to job training as well as college tuition. He is old enough like many here on this site who remember back when you could get free job training (paid for or subsidized by the government) back in the 60’s and 70’s. If you wanted to learn how to drive a semi and get a license you needed to get training on a semi. Back then you could get that hands on training!

The game seems to be to sacrifice all the important and very much needed things that Sanders stands for in favor of incidentals like his voting for a democrat or expressing a very typical political view on Russian interference in our elections and trumpikins who may have abetted it. So what? Sanders asks only for the issue to be investigated which it should be. Big deal!

If we miss out on a Sanders presidency (if he runs) then much of the damage that Trump and the callous and corrupt republicans will be written in stone.


Throw the usurers out of our schools.


A noble sentiment, Bernie, but surely you know it has no chance of passage while the Republicans rule, or the Democrats either for that matter.

Both these parties are involved in dumbing down the USA (except for children of the oligarchy), and to expect these parties to change is unrealistic.

If you’re serious about free tuition, Bernie, why don’t you hook up with a party that feels the same way - the Greens?

Continued loyalty to the Democrats is a dead end.


I’m much more concerned about Sanders pushing the “Russian interference” garbage.

Also he did endorse Cuomo’s (NY governor) means tested “free” tuition at the SUNY system–seems like a compromise.


They built new dorms with suites, and added “amenities” to attract [paying] students.

Right many more VPs for X affairs, when there used to be the president, and say a provost.

And professor deans ran the departments.


This issue, student debt, is the issue at hand. What I’m talking about is not settling, even if the person we’re calling to not settle is someone the progressive community trusts and admires.

It is the job of the progressive base to insist on the ideal, even when the politicians end up having to compromise in the sausage making to get something.

Too many Sanders supporters seem aghast at anything that seems to be critical of him. But this isn’t about him. It’s about us.