Bernie Sanders wants a new $2.4 trillion Wall-Street tax to pay for free college education in the US

Sen. Bernie Sanders. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal have introduced a bill to make college education free.

  • The bill proposes taxing Wall Street to raise $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years to fund education.

  • It would erase tuition for families earning less than $125,000 annually.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Wednesday introduced legislation that would tax Wall Street to pay for free college education for students.

The “College for All Plan” would scrap tuition for families making less than $125,000 a year, per CNBC. It would apply to public four-year colleges and universities as well as historically Black institutions, both public and private.

The bill proposes new taxes on Wall Street, including a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% fee on bond trades, and a 0.005% fee on derivative transactions. It said this would raise $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years to help fund free education.

“It is Wall Street’s turn to rebuild the struggling middle class by paying a modest financial transactions tax to make sure that everyone in America who wants to get a higher education can do so without going into debt,” the bill said.

The plan also proposes an annual $10 billion federal fund to help students who are at under-funded colleges or universities.

It would also support programs that help children from low-income backgrounds, those with disabilities, and first-generation college students.

“In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, a higher education should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few,” Sanders said in a statement, per CNBC. “If we are going to have the kind of standard of living that the American people deserve, we need to have the best educated workforce in the world.”

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The move comes amid mounting pressure for President Joe Biden to cancel student-loan debt up to $50,000.

Democratic lawmakers such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are pushing Biden to cancel $50,000 in student debt per person. Biden has asked the Justice Department and Education Department to look into it.

Jayapal said that “while President Biden can and should immediately cancel student debt for millions of borrowers, Congress must ensure that working families never have to take out these crushing loans to receive a higher education in the first place.”

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