Sen. Bernie SandersÂ will call for making public colleges and universities tuition-free at a town hall this week.Â Â
The Vermont Independent, who introduced legislation on the issue earlier this year, will speak about the topic at Castleton University in Vermont at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. The speech and a QA will be livestreamed on Facebook.Â Student groups at hundreds of colleges across the country plan to hold watch parties, according to the senator’s office.
Sanders introduced legislation in April to make public colleges and universities across the U.S. tuition-free for working families and to significantly reduce student debt.Â The legislation would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year and two-year public colleges and universities for families making up to $125,000 â€“ about 80% of the population â€“ and make community college tuition- and fee-free for all, according to a news release announcing the legislation attempt.
The College for All act would also reduce student loan debt for students and parents which now exceed Americansâ€™ credit card debt. The bill would cut all student loan interest rates for new borrowers in half, which also enables existing borrowers to refinance their loans based on the interest rates available to new borrowers.
It has an estimated cost of $600 billion and would be paid for by a separate bill to tax Wall Street speculation.
A version of the legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
A similar program has been championed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In New York state, the plan offers free tuition to income-eligible students in the State University of New York System.
When Sanders introduced comparable legislation in 2015, it had two co-sponsors.Â It has five co-sponsors in the Senate, a sign that support is growing for the legislation,Â Sanders communications director Josh Miller-Lewis said.
The only way for more young adults to afford college â€œis for millions of people and students to get involved in the political process and push for change,â€ Miller-Lewis said.