SACRMENTO ( — California Democratic lawmakers Monday announced a proposal that would help college students reduce student-loan debt or eliminate the need for it. They called it the nation’s most ambitious plan to fight spiraling student debt.

The Degrees Not Debt program would expand financial assistance to about 390,000 California State University and University of California students by providing scholarships that would cover tuition and living expenses in hopes of ultimately eliminating students’ needs to obtain loans.

The scholarships would be phased in over five years, reducing student debt by 20 percent annually, according to the Assembly Democratic Caucus.

The plan, which is expected to cost $1.6 billion, would also offer tuition-free community college for full-time students in their first year and expand another program that is already helping lower-income students cover living expenses.


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