Editor, Ceres Courier,
There is a bill in the Assembly currently moving forward that many Californians, and more specifically college students, may not be aware even exists. Assembly Bill 67, co-authored by Assembly members Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto), Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) and Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), is a bill that would freeze tuition rates for incoming UC and CSU freshmen for four years, and for incoming transfer students for two years. It's an important bill that is a first step to making college more affordable for every student seeking higher education.
I am a third-year college student at CSU Stanislaus, and I have been fortunate enough to receive financial aid for my college education that has allowed me to forgo student loans or paying out of my own pocket for college. Still, I know how it feels to worry about costs for the next semester of year of college increasing dramatically, to the point of wondering if I will be able to continue my education if these tuition hikes occur.
As a college student, I also work two jobs to help pay for tuition and other college-related expenses. I have been able to save enough money to pay for tuition if necessary. However, if tuition rates continue their dramatic rise as they have been over the past decade, I may find my savings for the next several years decimated because of increased fees and costs. My parents both work multiple jobs to provide a living for our family yet cannot contribute to my education, even though I know they would have done it without hesitation if they had the means. Unfortunately, many of my friends and peers have had the same experience.
According to the New York Federal Reserve, total student loan debt among borrowers under 30 has doubled since 2005 to almost $300 billion, and the average amount of debt for borrowers under 30 is $20,835. Simply put, an increase in fees is not what college students need when finances are tight and the future is uncertain.
California has one of the highest quality higher education systems in the world. Students from many countries across the globe come to this state to attend our universities and receive some of the best education the world literally has to offer. Yet the massive increase in tuition over the last several years has made it incredibly more difficult for students and young people to get the education that allows them to fulfill their career ambitions and become productive members of society. Support AB 67 and let us take the first step that we need in order to finally get control of the long-term tuition costs in California's higher education. The very futures of many young people depend on it.
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