Politics & Government

Bill would make college tuition-free

a senator from Vermont, is running for president as a Democrat.
Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, is running for president as a Democrat. AP

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will introduce legislation Tuesday to make college tuition-free in the United States.

"We live in a highly competitive global economy and, if our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated work force in the world. That will not happen if, every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and if millions more leave school deeply in debt," the Vermont senator said in a statement released Sunday.

The plan would provide tuition-free higher education to students at four-year colleges, the statement said, and is modeled after the way many European nations handle the costs of college.

"Countries like Germany, Denmark, Sweden and many more are providing free or inexpensive higher education for their young people," Sanders said. "They understand how important it is to be investing in their youth. We should be doing the same."

Sanders's statement said his bill will also seek to "substantially lower student debt and bring down interest rates on college loans."

The bill could put added pressure on Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has yet to release her plan for higher education. A few weeks ago, campaign manager Robby Mook used the phrase "debt-free college," when discussing the issues important to young people, but Clinton has not yet said whether that would be a part of her plan.

President Barack Obama continues to try and drum up congressional support for his plan to make community college tuition-free.

"I want to lower the cost of community college to zero," Obama said this month. "We can't afford to let striving Americans be priced out of the education they need to get ahead."