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On Feb. 14, Senator Noreen Evans used the 18-to-24-year-old age demographic to gain support on passing legislation that promised California college students reduced tuition and fees: Senate Bill 1017.
The original bill stated that an increase in oil taxes would allow allocated funds to be raised for the following in order of importance: “to reduce mandatory systemwide tuition and fees,” “hire faculty and reduce class sizes,” “instructional materials,” “English as a second language programs” and “deferred maintenance.”
The bill supports students at University of California campuses, California State Universities and California Community Colleges. When Evans introduced the bill, students from across the state showed their support for the tax that would lower tuition and help higher education.
Unfortunately, the bill Evans introduced in February has major revisions as of May 14. The new revision to the bill omits priorities that gained support in the first place, and college students worrying about tuition are left empty-handed.
The revised bill now puts preference on allocating money for “deferred maintenance,” “instructional equipment replacement,” “to pay off debt” and “minor capital outlay project.”
Student debt is rapidly increasing along with increasing tuition for students in California. The average amount of student loan debt in California is $20,269, according to the Project on Student Debt. A bill that prioritizes tuition and fees would positively impact individual college students in their future rather than entire universities like “deferred maintenance.”
Evans seemingly manipulated college students, as politicians know that any bill decreasing tuition will be majorly supported.
As a top priority, Evans’ bill views “deferred maintenance” and a “minor capital outlay project” as more important than decreasing tuition and fees. With student debt continuing to rise, this bill could have helped thousands of students after graduation, as she promised three months ago.
Evans’ bill may still help higher education in many ways, but it does not directly help students that are struggling to pay their debts.
Although this bill still helps students, it is another example of false promises made by politicians and how they are willing to say anything for their cause.
Austin Yack has heard it all before and this time he’s not buying it.
Views expressed on the opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB and are primarily submitted by students.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, May 19, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.