AAUP Endorses Free College Legislation

As part of our broader push for a New Deal for higher education, we’ve endorsed two potential paths toward increased funding for colleges and universities—and, we hope, more equitable policies to better serve faculty, staff, and students.

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Pramila Jayapal reintroduced their College for All Act on March 21. This act would make college free for four years and greatly increase funding for programs that serve first generation, BIPOC, or low-income students. Crucially, it would require institutions to have 75 percent of courses taught by tenure-track faculty within five years. We’re thrilled to see such strong support for well-paying tenure-track jobs in the bill, and look forward to helping get College for All into the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan.

Next week, Representative Andy Levin and Senator Tammy Baldwin are due to reintroduce the America’s College Promise Act (read more about the 2019 version of the bill), which would make community college free. While it does not go as far as the Sanders bill, it would require a “maintenance of effort” by states to prevent funding cuts in the event of a recession, and would increase funding for programs at both two- and four-year institutions that serve first generation, BIPOC, or low-income students.

Publication Date: 
Friday, April 23, 2021