Bernie Sanders' home state could soon offer 'free' college tuition

A bill in the Vermont legislature would provide "free" four-year college tuition for in-state students.

The legislation came just hours before Vermont Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders announced another bid for president.

Hours before Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced his 2020 run for president, a local news outlet in his home state reported that a bill in the Vermont legislature that would provide “free” four-year public college tuition is gaining steam. 

The bill, which was introduced in the Vermont state Senate and referred to the education committee, would provide a “tuition-free scholarship program for Vermont students,” according to the Vermont General Assembly website. As it is currently written, the legislation would provide up to $30 million to make up for the difference between the cost of in-state tuition for Vermont students and the amount of their federal and state financial aid, VTDigger reported

The bill comes as a number of Democratic presidential nominees, including Vermont’s own Sanders, advocate heavily for “free” four-year college tuition for all. If the legislation passes, Vermont would be the second state to offer “free” in-state tuition for four-year college degrees. New York recently passed a similar program providing “free” four-year college tuition for students from middle-class families. 

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Sanders tweeted after his announcement Tuesday about his years-long push for “free” college tuition, writing “three years ago, we were told ideas like Medicare for all, tuition-free college and a $15 minimum wage were ‘radical’ and ‘extreme.’ These policies and more are now supported by a majority of Americans.”

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Deliberation over the bill comes amid Campus Reform’s reports exclusively that 99 percent of faculty and 100 percent of administrators employed in Vermont colleges contributed financially to Democrat candidates and causes from 2017-2018. The analysis included political donations by faculty and administrators at both public and private colleges in Vermont. 

In 2013-2014, Vermont became the first state in the country to take a socialized approach to healthcare. That effort ultimately collapsed under its own weight, even with a Democratic governor, because of the onerous taxes that would have to be imposed to pay for health care for all. 

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