Greater investment in our public schools and access to higher education, including universities and vocational training, is essential if we want to ensure the best career opportunities for our children and grandchildren and remain competitive in a global and an increasingly automated economy. Throughout the United States, significant disparities in the quality of public school education between the wealthiest regions of our country and economically depressed communities, particularly in rural areas. Many teachers are required to buy books and pencils for their students out of their own paychecks, and the United States consistently ranks below many countries including Vietnam in math and science.
We cannot further undermine our public schools by extending vouchers for private school tuition. Instead, we must provide more federal funding for our public schools, particularly in rural and less prosperous communities to ensure all of our American children have the skills they will need to start businesses, find high paying and fulfilling jobs, buy a home and be able to raise their families with peace of mind.
With the sky high costs of college tuition, many Americans decide that they cannot afford a college education or for those who are able to obtain loans, they may graduate with debt well into the six figures. This level of debt is crippling for those graduating from college who are beginning their careers, trying to save for a home, and pay for daycare. Our graduates may spend many of their working years simply trying to climb out a mountain of student debt rather than being able to build savings. Americans on both sides of the political aisle agree that what they love about their country is the opportunity to make a better life. College education was not always as expensive as it is today. Tuition at the University of California schools was free until the 1980’s. However, from 1980-2014, the average annual increase in college tuition grew by nearly 260%, over twice as much as other consumer goods. However, those opportunities are not available if the best education is not affordable or accessible to all Americans. For that reason, it is high time we offer tuition-free public universities and vocational training.
Growing up in a family of seven kids and living below the poverty line during most of my childhood, I know the value of higher education. Because of federal financial aid and grants, I was able to receive my undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and my law and MBA degrees from the University of California at Davis. Higher education provided me with the tools to break the barriers of poverty and make a better life. I want to serve you as your Congresswoman to ensure that opportunities for higher education are available to all Americans, not just the children of wealthy families.
For the many Americans who are struggling to repay their student loans, I support debt forgiveness programs for our teachers and doctors who commit to serve our country in rural areas, such as our district. And, we must cap the interest paid on federal student loans to 2% to relieve many working families of the burden caused by student loan payments and its hindering effects .
Access to free higher education and vocation training is critical to our nation’s future and ensuring the next generation has access to opportunities for a better life and to give back to the community.
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