Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at Morehouse College Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019
Caption
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at Morehouse College Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says if he is elected president, attending any historically black college would be tuition-free.

Speaking at a rally on the campus of Morehouse College, Sanders outlined his latest affordable education policies.

“We are going to encourage young people to go into teaching because we're going to give educators the respect and compensation they deserve,” he said. “And that means that no teacher in America should earn less than $60,000 a year.”

Speaking specifically about HBCUs, Sanders said that students who attend those institutions have struggled financially from a lack of federal funding.

“They have suffered from a drop in enrollment and from crushing institutional debt,” he said. “And yet today, the need for HBCUs and the education they provide has never been greater.”

One proposal would make HBCUs, tribal colleges and other minority-serving institutions tuition free.

“I know that Robert Smith did a very great service to some of the students here at Morehouse by paying for your student debt,” he said, referring to the billionaire philanthropist’s pledge earlier this year. “That is enormously important and we appreciate so much his generosity, and that is exactly what we are going to do for every person who has student debt all over this country!”

Another policy would pump $10 billion into the schools to create and expand HBCU medical, dental, and teacher training graduate programs.

He also touched on a common theme among presidential candidates in Georgia: Stacey Abrams. The gubernatorial nominee lost a tight election that was marred by allegations of voter suppression from Republican Brian Kemp, who was then secretary of state.

“I have always believed that if you can't win an election on your ideas then don't run for office,” he said. “Here in Georgia and all over this country, you've got cowardly Republican governors who can't win elections on their ideas and are suppressing the vote… and I say to those cowardly governors and others, if you can't win on your ideas, get out of politics, get another job!”

Sanders wasn’t the only candidate to talk HBCU funding while in town for the debate. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg released details of his plan at Morehouse on Monday.