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LULAC Praises Bill to End College Tuition and Fees for Students at Universities and Community Colleges

April 3, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the College for All Act of 2017, a bill which would eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for those with an annual income of up to $125,000. In addition, the bill would completely eliminate tuition and fees at community colleges for all students. The move would be a significant step forward in making college more affordable, allowing more students to pursue higher education opportunities–regardless of their income.

While the average annual increase in college tuition has increased over 260 percent since 1980, the median Hispanic household income has remained stagnant since the start of the recession, hovering around $42,400 a year.

"The rising costs of a college degree have made pursuing higher education an almost impossible dream for millions of high-achieving Latinos," said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. "A college degree leads to more employment opportunities and a more stable economic future for our communities, and we must do more to ensure that higher education opportunities remain attainable for more students, including older Americans, transitioning veterans, single parents, and students from single-income households."

In addition to eliminating tuition and fees, the bill would also cut student loan interest rates in half and cap them permanently at 5 percent. It would also double funding for TRIO programs and increase funding for the GEAR UP Program so that more first-generation and low-income students can successfully enroll in college and graduate.

The LULAC National Education Service Centers (LNESC) run various TRIO programs across the country that serve thousands of students each year by helping them become college and career ready.

"For years, LULAC Collegiate members across the country have been at the forefront of college affordability advocacy efforts and have pressed their local, state, and federal leaders to adequately address the issues facing our students," said LULAC National Vice President for Young Adults Abigail Zapote. "All talented and motivated students–regardless of their income–should have the ability to pursue their higher education goals without incurring debilitating amounts of debt. We applaud the efforts of Senator Sanders to address this critical issue facing our community and his commitment to investing in the future leaders of our nation."

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.

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