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Danny Mauldin

California has the largest gross domestic product and population in the country, which makes this state a leader within the United States. With such a large share in the national economy, California must maintain a stellar education system.

Despite a large population and tax base, college in California has not become more affordable. Three of the ten most populous cities in the U.S. are in California, along with huge metropolitan areas and a large, rural population.

For many families, the opportunity to attend a four-year college is far-fetched. In fact, tuition regularly increases.

However, a proposal now exists to pay for free in-state tuition at the University of California, California State University, and California City College systems, called “The $48 Fix.” The plan establishes a system to pay for free college tuition by a $48 tax increase on the median household per year. The fix was proposed in 1960, when California only had half of its current population, according to 48fix.org. Californians should support The $48 Fix to increase college accessibility, an investment in its future the state can afford to make.

There is no problem with an increase in state population to boost the economy, yet the competition for university spots is tenuously increasing. High school graduate percentages have increased, according to a California Department of Education study.

The percent increase of high school graduates is mainly due to a population influx and immigration over the past few decades. The study found that the combined University of California and California State University systems have not increased potential freshmen enrollment.

However, the UC and CSU systems have both regularly raised tuition. In 2011, the UC system increased tuition by over 9 percent, which increased in-state tuition to an average of $1,068. Since then, the UCs and CSUs have continued to raise tuition costs with no end in sight.

One may assume that the median household income is insufficient to handle the household tax hike. However, California’s lower class would pay very little of “The $48 Fix” tax burden. Most of the payments would fall upon wealthier individuals who can afford the tax increase.

While California has some of the highest taxes in the nation, The $48 Fix is intended to raise $9.43 billion, according to a Tax Foundation report from 2016.

About $9 billion is the amount that authors estimate is necessary to fully fund in-state tuition for the UC, the CSU, and the California Community College systems. This is a relatively small increase in the state’s overall tax revenue from the 2017-18 fiscal of $125.88 billion and a mere drop in the bucket of California’s $2.4 trillion GDP.

Californians should willingly pay the $48 Fix because the long-term investment of free tuition may increase C.A.’s economic potential. Within the next few decades, California will undergo significant changes in the taxation agenda.

In the meantime, $48 is practically nothing when one thinks of the investment for future generations.

The prospect of establishing free in-state tuition would support decades of future prosperity and would set a standard for the nation. Attendance at four-year universities in California should be tuition free for California residents.

Although there are many college eligible people, California universities are failing to make college more accessible.

To read the full policy paper for The $48 Fix, visit http://48fix.org/policy-paper/.

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