State legislators want bailout for colleges

Cynthia Gomez

Legislators, faculty, and students gathered at the state’s capital on Monday to call for a ‘New Deal for Higher Education,’ a renewed investment in public higher education.

Legislators introduced a House resolution that calls for ‘bold recommitment’ to public higher education in the U.S., the California Faculty Association indicates.

The resolution calls for a $70 billion nationwide bailout for colleges and universities.
The resolution was introduced in the California Assembly by a group of state Assembly members, led by Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, state chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and author of the resolution.

Portantino, along with other state Assembly members, held a telephone news conference Monday to discuss the reasons behind the new House resolution.

‘We’re facing an economic drift worse than we have faced in many generations,’ said Assemblyman Ira Ruskin. ‘We need to make an investment in higher education.’

The CFA indicates the resolution argues for increased federal aid in the form of grants, such as was done with the World War II GI Bill of Rights, as well as student loan forgiveness in exchange for public service. The resolution also calls upon Congress and the President-elect Barack Obama to enact a ‘New Deal for a New Millennium for Higher Education’ that will allow the state of California to restructure its three segments of public higher education and help the public education systems of other states.

‘This is a critical opportunity to do what is right for ordinary Americans,’ an Assembly member said during the telephone news conference.

‘This resolution is so critical,’ an Assembly member said during the telephone news conference. ‘I urge Congress to support this resolution.’

‘Our current economic crisis has been called the worst since the Great Depression, and most experts fear that more bad news is forthcoming,’ Portantino said in a telephone news conference Monday.

Portantino said out of 10 percent of the $700 billion financial bailout, $2 million students in the state of California could go to college.’ ‘

As California faces an $11.2 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature has had to cut about $97 million from the CSU budget.