Sen. Blumenthal & Bernie Sanders work to make free in-state tuition a reality

(WTNH) — Free college tuition is something that Bernie Sanders was pushing for during his campaign and now it’s coming back around. Senator Richard Blumenthal is now joining forces to try and make that come true.

“Tuition free, debt free college is fundamental to opportunity, and really achieving everybody’s full potential.”

The free college tuition would be at any state school in the nation for anyone making under $125,000 a year. Senator Blumenthal says two thirds would be paid by the federal government and one third would be paid by the state.

“Everybody should have an equal shot, an equal chance to get the American Dream. It’s really putting everybody on affording where they can compete and develop opportunities that is there in everyone’s best interest.”

On Friday, students took the last of their finals as it marked the end of this school year. News 8 talked to a group of seniors who are heading off into the workplace, who had vastly different opinions about taxes going to free education.

“I think we are ranked fifth or sixth worst in the nation for taxes so the idea of subsidizing this way and if you play it smart you can already pay for a better education through eight of the federal government,” said Gifford Spada, a senior.

“It doesn’t matter. The general benefit of all people is what is important. Selfishness is something that holds us behind,” said Jordan Wagman, a senior.

“I don’t know about necessarily making education free. I think it could devalue education as a whole because the more people to go to college these days, the less valuable it becomes,” said Nick Sasso, a senior.

So while some believe it will devalue education, others say it will do just the opposite. UConn accepted just over 3000 freshman last year. With such a limited number of spots and everybody getting in free who’s making less than $125,000 in income, Senior Shanjida Jui says that will make it more competitive to get into the state schools.

“As long as you have the passion and dedication to work for it, a lot of people want to work for, they just need the resources. Help is what they need,” Jui said.

Senator Richard Blumenthal agrees.

“There is no free pass here. People have to be admitted to school. They have to have the drive and aptitude and grades and treatment to make sure they can make use of this education.”

So what if you just graduated college with a boatload of debt and the class coming in behind you doesn’t have any? Senator Blumenthal says the bill addresses that. People with student loans will be able to refinance their current loans to a very low interest-rate: around 2%.

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