SEIU applauds Senator Bernie Sanders Introduction of the College for All Act, which will restore public higher education as a public good

Contact: Jonathan.Huskey@seiu.org. 571-379-0534

Washington — The members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), including more than 120,000 tenured, tenure-track and non-tenured faculty, adjunct instructors, post-doctoral associates, researchers and other campus workers, are ready to fight alongside Senator Sanders, students and our coalition partners Student Debt Crisis and Higher Ed Not Debt to ensure the passage of the College for All Act.

Colleges and universities that used to provide a pathway to the American Dream are now becoming a road to poverty for students who find themselves saddled with debt and graduate workers and faculty who are unable to support their families on low pay.

After decades of public disinvestment, colleges and universities have increasingly shifted their costs onto students through tuition and fee hikes, forcing students to take on crushing debt to pursue their education. At the same time both public and private institutions have become dependent on contingent academic labor and low-wage students and staff.

“From the moment I chose a career in academia, student debt has shaped every decision in my life,” said Samantha Gomes Compton, an adjunct instructor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. “One out of four adjunct professors is paid so little that they qualify for food stamps while top administrators pay themselves millions. My income is so low that my payments are $0-20 a month. I might not be able to pay it all off before I die. I’m expecting my first child and I stand with the hundreds of thousands of SEIU members, students, parents and college faculty who won’t let our broken higher education system derail the next generation. We are proud to stand with Senator Sanders and fight for the College for All Act because it provides an investment in quality, accessible higher education that graduates students free of debt, pays educators a living wage and generates more opportunities for all of our communities.”  

With more than $1.4 trillion in student debt holding back Americans, the time for change has come. Instead of cutting Pell Grants, unleashing debt collectors, dismantling public education, and forcing faculty to rely on public assistance, it’s time for a plan that offers students, faculty, borrowers, and families the support they need.

SEIU members are proud to support this visionary bill which would ensure that higher education institutions are living up to their mission to provide a public good. The College for All Act will restore the promise of higher education by:

  • Offering free community college tuition to all students; and
  • Eliminating undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for students from families making up to $125,000 a year; and
  • Increasing full-time instructional faculty; and
  • Compensating part-time faculty for work done outside of the classroom; and
  • Providing all faculty with tools they need to support student success, like professional development opportunities, office space, and shared governance in the institution.

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The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is home to more than 120,000 faculty, graduate student employees and other campus workers who believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy. www.seiu.org

 


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