Issues

Professor Offers Extra Credit to Students Demanding Free College

College students
College students / Blend Images via AP

A professor at California State University at Channel Islands offered extra credit to students who penned a letter to their state legislators demanding the need for free college.

Frank Barajas handed students the optional assignment during a history class on U.S. history since 1887, instructing them to detail in one-to-two pages how the "high fees and tuition" at CSU impacts their personal lives and families both financially and psychologically.

"Also include why you believe free tuition would better impact your education," the assignment instructed.

Barajas included a link to his blog to help guide students with a "historical context to what university students" experience currently. Campus Reform noted that in one of the posts Barajas equated students loans to financial slavery.

"The pursuit of a higher education should not relegate students and their families to an intergenerational existence of a new form of debt peonage," he wrote.

To earn credit, Barajas required his students to provide him copies of their letters enclosed in a stamped envelope so that he could personally mail them himself. He also requested consent to mail copies to California Gov. Jerry Brown and the Chairmen of California’s Higher Education Committee.

"If your letter fails to conform to the above instructions, zero points will be awarded," he wrote.

The premise of the letter echoes a Bernie Sanders campaign mantra demanding tuition free college. The Vermont senator called it "insane" that hundreds of thousands are unable to pursue higher education because of the cost.

While Sanders said the cost would be cover through tax hikes on Wall Street speculators, economists on all sides of the political spectrum have branded the plan as unrealistic.