Opinion: Bernie Sanders: We Must Make Public Colleges and Universities Tuition Free

"Our nation needs the best-educated workforce in the world to succeed in the ever more competitive global economy. Sadly, we are moving further and further away from that goal. As recently as 1995, the United States led the world in college graduation rates, but today we have fallen to 11th place. We are now behind such countries as Japan, South Korea, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, and Switzerland. Eleventh place is not the place for a great nation like the United States," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) writes for VICE.

"Why is this so important? Because fifty years ago, if you had a high school degree, odds were that you could get a decent-job and make it into the middle class. But that is no longer the case. While not all middle-class jobs in today's economy require post-secondary education, an increasing number do. By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require some education beyond high school.

And these jobs tend to pay better, too. Nationally, a worker with an associate's degree will earn about $360,000 more over their career than a worker with a high school diploma. And a worker with a bachelor's degree will earn almost $1 million more.

If it makes sense to get a college degree, why aren't more high school students enrolling in and graduating from college? The main reason is because the ever-rising cost of higher education puts college out of reach for many families, or requires students to take on a mountain of debt.

It's time to change that dynamic. It's time to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for the working families of our country. It is time for every child to understand that if they study hard and takes their school work seriously they will be able to get a higher education, regardless of their family's income. It's time to reduce the outrageous burden of student debt that is weighing down the lives of millions of college graduates."

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Publication Date: 10/12/2017

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