California Leading the Way in Making Education Affordable

It is no secret that student loan debt is a major problem for many adults in the U.S. On average, each household in the U.S. struggles with at least $37,000 in college debt. This adds up to about $1.4 trillion in total college debt in the U.S. California was recently praised as one of the states in the U.S. that is stepping up to the plate the most in terms of bridging the gap in access to higher education for all.

San Francisco is leading the way in making public education more affordable. Voters recently passed a law to tax high-end real estate tax transfers in the city, which affects property sales valued at $5 million or more. It is estimated that the city will gain an extra $44 million in revenue from this tax, which will be used to provide free access to San Francisco Community College. Enrollment has already increased by 16 percent, and it is expected to continue to rise as more San Francisco residents catch wind of this wonderful opportunity.

In addition to the luxury real estate tax in San Francisco, there is another movement gaining steam that involves reinstating the inheritance tax for California residents with a net worth of at least $3.5 million and married couples with a net worth of at least $7 million. Given that these individuals recently benefited from a a massive federal tax cut, there are many supporters of the petition, California College for All, which aims to use the revenue from this tax to fund public university education for more than 2.5 California students. This resolution will not come for a final vote until November of 2018, which leaves plenty of time for supporters to spread the word about their initiatives under this proposed tax.

Although California is certainly considered a leader when it comes to providing free public education, other states are following its trend. Tennessee, Michigan, New York and Massachusetts are all experimenting with some form of free or subsidized community college access for residents. However, the student population in California is the largest of these states by far. Supporters of these tax initiatives in California also hope to expand free access to higher education beyond the community college level and all the way up to public universities. This is a welcomed reversal of the recent trend toward increased tuition costs in California and most other states.