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Mar 18, 2017 02:17 PM EDT

Degrees Not Debt: California’s Plan To Eliminate Student Loan Debt

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California Democratic lawmakers have submitted a proposal Monday, called the Degrees Not Debt program. This is the state's ambitious plan to date to help college students avoid student loan debt.

According to Forbes, the said program will assist almost 400,000 students from the University of California and California State University. The financial assistance will cover tuition and expenses, so that the students will no longer have to apply for student loans.

In a survey conducted last year, almost 30 percent of California students have reported that college costs is one major obstacle when it comes to their dream of pursuing higher education, The Atlantic reported. In the same survey, 82 percent have supported their support for additional grants and scholarships to help these students.

According to the California Assembly Democratic Caucus, Degrees Not Debt which costs $1.6 billion will be implemented in the next five years.

Lupita Cortez Alcalá, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, said that it is by far the most comprehensive and wide-reaching proposal in the US. The program also includes free tuition for the first year for the community college students.

Students who will be qualified for this program will still have access to Pell Grants, Middle Class Scholarships and other scholarships offered by the university. With the help of this financial aid, the lawmakers are hopeful that the students will finally be able to afford the costs of textbooks, transportation and overall living expenses in college.

While students are still expected and encouraged to help by working part time, the proposed grant will be covering the average cost of the tuition which amounts to $21,000 yearly for California State schools and $33,000 for the universities. Students whose families get an annual income of not less than $60,000 are expected to help with their child's education.

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