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COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY

During a town hall with Chris Matthews, Trump acknowledged that
students are “up to their neck in debt” and has suggested he would remove the federal government from the student loan system and privatize it, though doing this isn’t likely to reduce the cost of a degree, says John Wasik, author of “The Debt-Free Degree.” —Boccagnio, New York Times, 9/20/16

UPDATE 10/14: Gov. Brown signs bill to make1st year of community college free for all Californians. Must apply for fee waiver. 5/19: Trump did, indeed, propose sweeping changes to Federal Student Aid program (i.e., having only one company service all student loans, and eliminating debt erasure for those in public service jobs [teaching, social service] after 10 years, which we have now). (Reuters) 4/9: New York became the first state to provide free college tuition for families earning under $100K per year!

LEARN: Some states (notably, California) are developing plans for how to survive without federal funds. This includes raising tuition, which is already markedly high and further divides the rich from the poor, leaving the middle class torn in two.

TAKE ACTION

(1) Want to go to college for free? “There are at least 44 schools across Europe where Americans can earn their bachelor's degree for free… All public colleges in Germany, Iceland, Norway and Finland are free for residents and international students. And some private schools in the European Union don't charge for tuition either. Many are going out of their way to attract foreigners by offering programs taught entirely in English.” (Lobosco, CNN, 2/23/16) In San Francisco? Deal reached to make City College free for SF residents!

(2) Don’t want to go out of North America? Try Canada! It’s not free, but it’s a bargain (Kelly, Time, 1/21/16). Here’s a list of Canadian Colleges and Universities with “open arms” to Americans, by CollegeExpress.

(3) Staying in the US? Compare costs between private and public schools, both in-state and out-of-state. Before now, attending a public, in-state school provided the most affordable, best quality education. This doesn’t necessarily apply anymore. Begin applying for private and public scholarships at least a year before you plan to begin attending, and consider it a part-time job; scholarships are still available, but you need to dig and persevere. For help, seek out your town library's reference librarian, or the reference librarian at your local college or university—as well as college admission advisers and financial aid departments. Consider attending a community college your first two years and then transfer; the education you’ll receive is often superior to that offered in underfunded, overcrowded state colleges and universities, and it’s a whole lot less expensive. In some states, like California, admittance to the state university system is guaranteed for those who meet general education requirements in community colleges. Going to graduate school? Avoid for-profit and private stand-alone "universities." Their faculty come and go, which makes it hard to complete a thesis or dissertation, classes are large, and student:faculty ratio is high. They are also extremely expensive ($200K and up for 4 years; few finish in 4 years).

(4) Support your local education unions! They are working tirelessly to improve public college and university instruction in the United States.

(5) LGBTQ? Try this site to find affordable, friendly colleges.

(6) If and when your state's higher education institutions come under funding threat, contact your Governor's office and representatives to your state's legislature. Search on "find your state legislators." In California? Go here. Shy to call? Don’t be concerned; you’ll likely be sent to voicemail. Explain you're concerned about any cuts to public college and university funding, that you're keeping track of their actions, and that you vote. Short of visiting in person, phoning is the most effective way to reach and influence politicians.

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