California college students may become the most enviable student body in the country.
On Monday of this week, California Democratic lawmakers proposed the Degrees Not Debt program which would help 400,000 University of California and California State University students to pay for tuition and living expenses (no, beer isn’t covered). The end goal of the program is to help students avoid getting bogged down in student loan debt and enable more young people to receive an education. The financial assistance would get more young adults into college and allow graduates to save more early on in their professional careers.
The average college student loan debt per graduate in California is $22,191. Student loan debt per capita in the state is $4,160, compared to the average student loan debt per capita in the U.S. of $4,920, according to student loan debt statistics from Make Lemonade.
The program would cost $1.6 billion over five years, according to the California Assembly Democratic Caucus.
“It is by far the most comprehensive and wide-reaching proposal in the country,” Lupita Cortez Alcalá, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, told the Los Angeles Times.
The Degrees Not Debt program would also send more grants to community college students and would make the first year of community college tuition cost-free. Several grants – including Pell Grants, Middle Glass Scholarships, and others – would still be available to students. Students whose parents earn more than $60,000 per year would be expected to help pay for college and students would also be expected to work part-time to contribute towards the cost.
But around $33,000 worth of costs at University of California schools and $22,000 worth of costs at California State school would be covered by the program.