California used to be known as a place where middle and working class families would settle so that their children could have access to affordable top public universities and unparalleled job opportunities. However, this dream has been deteriorating over the last 20 years, as tuition for a UC education has increased by around 21 percent over the past couple years, more than any other state. In addition, graduating students are leaving college straddled with unprecedented student loans and an underperforming job market. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Speaker John Perez's Middle Class Scholarship Act is a major step in relieving the financial burden for many California families. Under the two bills, which are currently in the California state legislature, both UC and Cal State tuition would be cut by two-thirds for families that make between $80,000 and $150,000 a year.
Additionally, the scholarship provides over $150 million in aid to community colleges.
And what's even better is that this bill wont be funded on the backs of California's residents. Instead, the scholarship gets revenue by closing a tax loophole that enables out-of-state corporations to pick which tax rate they pay. This measure, which has broad bipartisan support in the California state legislature, would generate over $1 billion in revenue and help middle class families as well as California businesses.
Investing in higher education is beneficial for not just students, but all California residents. According to estimates, the scholarship would help around 42,000 UC students save $8,169 per year. This would help lessen the massive debt for many California students and enable many to actually attend a UC. Additionally, lowering costs to higher education isn't just good for students — it's good for the economy of California. According to the California community college chancellor's office, for every $1 taxpayers spend on higher education, the state gets a $3 return on its investment.
Ultimately, momentum is building for the scholarship throughout all UC campuses, especially at UCSD. Through passionate and vocal support from students and faculty alike, UCSD is leading the charge. We have collected more petitions in support of the scholarship than any other UC or Cal State campus. This is due to the inherent importance students see in making college more accessible and affordable amidst rising college fees.
However, our work here is not done. We need your help to show our legislators why investing in public higher education is integral to sustaining the future of California. Increasing access to higher education by lowering costs must be a priority of the California legislature. We must stand together in our support. Sign the petition and take action today.