Students rally for affordable higher education

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A set of bills to make college more affordable was introduced last year but didn’t go anywhere. This session, the Pennsylvania Promise bills are being reintroduced. 

State Senator Vincent Hughes is leading the chants for free college tuition. It’s one of several things proposed in the Democrat-led Pennsylvania Promise bills. 

“There is no greater good that we can do as a commonwealth than to invest in the future of people through education,” Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) said. 

The bills are designed to reduce the cost of college and student debt for Pennsylvania students. 

“Pennsylvania’s the worst state in the nation in terms of support for higher education. Students are graduating with $36,000 in student debt,” Hughes said. 

The bill would cover up to four years of tuition and fees at one of the commonwealth’s 14 community colleges, and cover four years of tuition and fees for recent high school graduates attending a state university, if their family income is less than or equal to $110,000. 

“A lot of students are starving on college campuses because they can’t afford housing and they can’t afford to eat. That’s what the PA Promise is all about,” said Hughes. 

That’s true for Millersville University senior Nathan Warren. 

“There have been times where I have had no bed, no mattress, just sleeping on the floor. Blessed to have an apartment at all. I’m almost entirely reliant on my campus food bank,” said Warren. 

Students working multiple jobs say it is hard to focus on their studies when trying to just make ends meet. 

That’s why lawmakers want to promise them there will be a change. 

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