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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Continues Efforts to Make College More Affordable

Introduces Budget Amendment to Make Two Years of Community College Free

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today introduced an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that would make two years of community college free for high-achieving students throughout the country. The cost of the program is offset by implementing the ‘Buffett Rule’, which ensures that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes. In January, Baldwin introduced legislation to establish the ‘Buffett Rule,’ the Paying a Fair Share Act.

“Making technical and community colleges affordable is one of the most important steps we can take toward building a strong path to the middle class for all Americans,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our budget should ensure that we make everyone pay their fair share so we can invest in high achieving American students. If we close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires we can help make sure that a college education is a path to prosperity—not a path into debt for middle class families.”

Following this year’s State of the Union address, Senator Baldwin applauded President Obama’s proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students. The program put forth in Senator Baldwin’s amendment would be undertaken in partnership with states and was inspired by new programs in Tennessee and Chicago. If all states participated, an estimated 9 million students could benefit. A full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.

Senator Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, has been a strong advocate for Wisconsin community and technical colleges and college affordability. Baldwin received the Association for Career and Technical Education’s 2014 “Policymaker of the Year” award for her work on behalf of career and technical education. 

In 2014, Senator Baldwin introduced two bills to address the larger issue of student debt and college affordability, the Working Student Act and CTE Opportunity Act. Senator Baldwin also introduced legislation to provide for competitive grant funding for clean energy career and technical training programs so that students are better trained for post-secondary education and better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of the future.

In addition, last week, Senator Baldwin supported action to tackle the national student debt crisis and signed on as an original cosponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act.