For far too long we have watched our tuition skyrocket, our classes get cut and the American Dream slip out of reach for California’s working and middle-class families.
But now a real step on the path towards solving our state’s higher education crisis has been taken, and California’s young people stand to benefit.
The Middle Class Scholarship Act, recently proposed by California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, is a step in the right direction for California’s future. The proposed legislation will ensure that all of our state’s college students and graduates and their families will stay out of debt by cutting college fees by two-thirds.
Under this plan, all University of California and California State University students with family incomes less than $150,000 who do not already have their fees covered will receive a scholarship that cuts their fees by two-thirds, turning the American Dream into a reality. Additionally, California’s community colleges will receive $150 million to expand their affordability efforts and every local community college district will be allowed to disperse the funds in the best way to serve their individual district’s needs.
Better yet, this legislation is paid for, in full, by closing a wasteful out-of-state corporate loophole, so it is economically feasible even though California’s economy is still in recovery mode.
The road toward higher education reform has been disheartening, disappointing and frustrating. Often times, we lose ourselves in the world of political fantasy, transfixed with long-term policy reform, but are unable to put together a tangible solution that will provide immediate relief. The Middle Class Scholarship Act is politically obtainable, but we must make sure that two-thirds of our Legislature signs on. We encourage you to contact your state legislators and ask them to join Speaker Pérez in his fight to reform our higher education system.
It is our belief that UC, CSU and California Community College students must organize together in support of Speaker Pérez’s innovative and immeasurably important piece of legislation. We know that we are together in this struggle. And together, we can do anything.
Vishalli Loomba is the president of the ASUC. Paul Murre is the president of the California College Democrats.