Californians Want Free Education

Students throughout the state of California have committed themselves to the formidable undertaking of collecting more than half a million signatures from registered voters that would be necessary to have the ‘College For All Act’ placed on the November ballot.

A major campaign promise of Bernie Sanders while attempting to become president of the United States was to make higher education free for all individuals in America. The message from Sanders has inspired many young activists in the state of California to fight a similar fight at the state level.

Estuardo Mazariegos, a California native that grew up in South Central Los Angeles says that he wants to see the state he loves make college free for its residents as it did up until the ‘70’s. Mazariegos explains that he is highly conscious of the burden of paying to attend college on the families of young people. He says he first began attending college in 2006 and due to financial reasons was forced to quit and start again multiple times.

Mazariegos is now in the last semester of college and says when he graduates he will be $18,000 due to his college expenses.

Mazariegos and students like him are intent on making a change that will better the educational prospects of future generations of Californians and perhaps the entire country will eventually follow suit.

The passing of the act could generate as much as $4 billion in annual revenue and all monies would be used to funding free education for the state’s 2.6 million individuals attending programs of higher education in California.

The funds would be generated by reinstating a state estate tax that was once imposed on the richest Californians but was abolished in 2006. California activists point out that no California lawmakers were part of a decision to eliminate the estate tax but instead it was eliminated due to tax cuts made by then-president George Bush.

College in California was free until the 1970’s and provided baby boomers with an excellent opportunity to improve their lot in life. But several decades of tax and budget cuts have led to what activists feel are excessive costs for higher education today.

In the 26 years since 1992, the cost to attend college in the state of California has increased by 300% and the total tuition paid by college students in the state in 2012 was $3 billion.


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