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Columbia University Students Are Preparing To Launch A Tuition Strike

At the end of Novem­ber, mem­bers of the Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty-Barnard Col­lege chap­ter of Young Demo­c­ra­t­ic Social­ists of Amer­i­ca (YDSA) launched a tuition strike cam­paign against ​“exor­bi­tant tuition rates” which, they say, ​“con­sti­tute a sig­nif­i­cant source of finan­cial hard­ship” dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Stu­dent demands are wide-rang­ing and include a 10% reduc­tion in the cost of atten­dance, 10% increase in finan­cial aid, and an amal­ga­ma­tion of demands from dis­parate stu­dent cam­paigns, many of which were set in motion long before the pan­dem­ic began.

Wealthy Parents Give Up Child Custody For College Financial Aid

Dozens of suburban Chicago families, perhaps many more, have been exploiting a legal loophole to win their children need-based college financial aid and scholarships they would not otherwise receive, court records and interviews show. Coming months after the national “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, this tactic also appears to involve families attempting to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive and expensive college admissions system. Parents are giving up legal guardianship of their children during their junior or senior year in high school to someone else — a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent.

Today’s College Students Are Paying More For Less

Despite the soaring costs of attending American colleges and universities, their students are receiving an education that falls far short of the one experienced by earlier generations. The sharp increase in costs is clear enough. Between 1978 and 2013, American college tuition rose by 1,120 percent, and became the major source of revenue for higher education. Traditionally, most public colleges and universities had no tuition or very low tuition. But, faced with severe cutbacks in government funding from conservative state legislatures, these public schools adopted a tuition system or dramatically raised tuition.

Back When College Was Debt-Free

As May gives way to June, the last college grad ceremonies are wrapping up and the last parties are coming to a close. Now the job hunt for recent grads begins in earnest — with the looming specter of student loan payments drawing ever closer. Today’s average student debt is around $37,000. But in America’s largest state, it wasn’t that long ago that any student could get a world-class, debt-free education — regardless of their economic background. That state was California, and Gail Leondar-Wright was one of those students. Gail came from a middle-class family — her dad was an engineer and her mom a stay-at-home parent. She attended UC Berkeley from 1976 to 1980, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theater. At the time, the elite public school was tuition-free and required a mere $600 per year in fees, or just under $1,400 in today’s dollars.

Public Higher Ed Skews Wealthy

By Rick Seltzer for Inside Higher Education - A majority of the country’s top public universities have grown less accessible for the most financially strapped students since 1999 -- and at the same time, they have grown more accessible for wealthy students. More than half of selective public institutions, 54 percent, have reduced the share of students they enroll from families with incomes in the lowest 40 percent of earners, while also increasing the share of students they enroll from families that are among the country’s top 20 percent of earners. Put differently, 217 out of 381 top public institutions enrolled a larger share of wealthy students even as they reduced their percentages of low-income students. That statistic is key to a provocative argument about dwindling access in a new report being released today by the left-leaning think tank New America. The think tank is releasing its findings as part of a reportanalyzing publicly available data from the Equality of Opportunity Project, a study of U.S. social mobility combining public information on higher education with deidentified tax records from students and their parents. The Equality of Opportunity Project received coverage early this year for showing that a handful of prestigious colleges enrolled more students from the top 1 percent of families sorted by income than they did from the bottom 60 percent. Other coverage of the project included the argument that college rankings incentivize institutions to favor wealthy students. New America has also published a series of blog postslooking at the data and what they show about higher education and mobility.

NY Governor’s ‘Free’ Tuition Plan Will Make Student Loan Crisis Even Worse

By Alan Collinge for The Hill - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan last week to provide for free tuition for people taking undergraduate courses at both the state universities (SUNY) and city universities (CUNY) in New York. He unveiled the proposal alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who hailed it as "revolutionary." Unfortunately, the plan isn't revolutionary. In fact, it isn't even good. The plan, dubbed the "Exelsior Scholarship" is similar to schemes proposed by both Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It creates a new pot of money for the colleges to draw from, and apply it to tuition charges. This in itself, would be a good thing for students if all else were equal, but the fact of the matter is that colleges are very good at using public funds such as this without passing the benefit on to students. They can, and certainly will, raise the prices of their other billable items to make up for any decrease in tuition charges.

Bernie’s Tuition Plan Is Doomed To Fail

By Alan Collinge for The Hill - Bernie Sanders unveiled his free-tuition plan this week. The plan, which would eliminate tuition charges for undergraduate students whose families earn less than $125,000 annually, looks much like the proposal from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and also like Hillary Clinton’s revised plan from 2015. Sanders’s plan would provide $47 billion to states to cover “tuition and fees” at public colleges with the requirement that states come up with the remaining $23 billion, thus making public college tuition-free. While Sanders’s plan certainly does dedicate far more money (per student) than Cuomo’s or Clinton’s plans would, it’s ultimately doomed to fail — just like Clinton’s plan and Cuomo’s plan.

Cuomo Proposes Tuition Free College For Middle Class

From Press Room of Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Green Party of NY, in a press release, responded to Cuomo’s tuition plan and called it inadequate, really a fraud by a false progressive: “The Green Party of New York called the Cuomo tuition-plan unveiled today wholly inadequate and said the reports of it making college free or affordable-for-all were false. The Greens pointed out that Cuomo’s plan does not cover the $14,000 in yearly room, board and fees and would still leave students with $55,000 worth of debt from SUNY/CUNY 4-year schools. Party officers also said that it does nothing to address three decades worth of funding cuts at state schools. The Green Party called on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to fully fund state schools and make college completely free, including tuition, room, board and fees so that students leave with no debt.

Six Students Arrested At University Of Minnesota Regents Meeting

By Staff of Unicorn Riot - At a hot summer meeting on a mostly deserted campus, the “Differences Organized Coalition” of fifteen groups protested University of Minnesota Board of Regents’ proposed tuition hikes, as well as decreasing access for marginalized communities, numerous sports and research scandals, Dinkytown gentrification, and investments with abusive corporations. The “Do! Coalition” has several primary demands: to treat education like a public good; immediate free tuition for American Indian students; President Kaler’s immediate resignation...

#MillionStudentMarch: Time To Build Political Revolution!

By Staff of Million Student March - On November 12, the first #MillionStudentMarch took place on 115 campuses across the country. On April 13th, we’re doing it again, this time joining forces with Black Liberation Collective, the group behind the Mizzou Movement, to say “no” to racism and student debt! Students nationwide will be coming together to challenge the racism of Donald Trump and the corporate establishment.

Newsletter: After The Crash…

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The economic agenda described here would create a radical transformation of the economy from a top-down system designed for the wealthiest, to a botton-up system that creates a foundation for an economy that benefits all. Putting in place this economy would move us from a plutocratic economy to a democratized economy where people have economic control over their lives. It is a radical shift – how can it happen? There is only one path – the people must be educated, organized and mobilized to demand it. We need to change the political culture to one where the necessities of the people and protection of the planet are the priorities of the economy. If predictions are correct, the next economic collapse will deeper and more damaging than the 2008 collapse. It will be a tremendous opportunity to demand radical economic change. It is one the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice should be preparing for now.

What Lies Behind the ‘Occupy UGC’ Protest

By Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty for The Wire - New Delhi: It was about a month ago that Ramesh Srivastava, a clerk at a bank in New Delhi’s ITO area, first noticed “young people” sitting on a pavement leading to the University Grants Commission office with a banner saying “Occupy UGC.” In the following days, Srivastava stopped by to read the rest of the banners and graffiti put up around the pavement and the nearby Metro station and chatted with “some boys and girls there to understand why they are protesting” the decision to terminate financial support for thousands of post-graduate students across the country.

Newsletter: Youth Recognize Their Power & Build It

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Youth are rising up. They have been showing leadership on multiple fronts of struggle. They see a broken system dysfunctional government that is corrupted by money. It is unable to respond to the crisis of climate change; the reality of systemic racism; students graduating with massive debt in a poor job market and so many other issues. Politicians aren’t the only voices with power. We have power, too. And we have more power when we act together. Young people don’t live single-issue lives. We live at the intersection of the most pressing problems today. Our movements are connected and our purpose is huge. Martin Luther King described the civil rights movement as a time when the “people moved their leaders, not the leaders who moved the people.” If enough of us push together toward a new vision, the world will begin to move. That is a message we should all take to heart. We should continue to exercise our power, continue to fight injustices and as we do so, our power will grow.

London Students Clash With Police Over Tuition Increases

By Laura Hughes and Nicola Harley for The Telegraph - A student protest over tuition fees descended into violence on Wednesday just hours after the shadow chancellor told demonstrators that they had been "betrayed" by the government. John McDonnell addressed thousands of students in central London who were calling for the end of tuition fees and the return of maintenance grants. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, did not join the protests but had a message read out to demonstrators urging students to "keep campaigning for justice".

Why Tuition-Free College Makes Sense

By Lawrence S. Wittner for HNN - The issue of making college tuition-free has recently come to the fore in American politics, largely because the two leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have each championed it. Sanders has called for free undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities, to be financed by a tax on Wall Street speculation, while Clinton has done the same, although with some qualifications and a different funding mechanism. The major argument for free public college and university education is the same as for free public education in general: like the free public elementary and high schools already existing in the United States, free public higher education provides educational opportunity for all.
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