The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
5 Strategies for Landing Your Dream Job After Graduation
July 11, 2024

Graduated and feeling lost about your next steps? Looking to set up your life, find a good job, and earn money? Who doesn’t want that, right?...

Neustadter: Bernie Sanders is a bad choice for students

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

In the weeks leading up to Colorado’s primary, the opinion desk will be going head to head on individual candidates’ policy choices. We’ll be focusing on some of the issues we think will affect student lives and whether or not we think that individual candidate’s plan has what it takes. This week, two columnists are discussing Bernie Sanders’ policies on the environment, education and immigration. 



Bernie’s environmental proposal is the Green New Deal, the polarizing resolution first proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey. The goal is ambitious: to reach 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and decarbonize the economy by 2050.

To do so, Sen. Sanders proposes investing trillions of dollars into different sectors, including creating a climate justice resiliency fund, specifically combating environmental racism.

The plan is comprehensive — creating 20 million jobs by implementing clean energy sources, reinstituting the Civilian Conservation Corps to protect America’s public lands and instituting money-saving features for working-class families.

Bernie’s plan is one of the most progressive among the Democratic candidates and would help rectify the severe inequality of climate change. However, the majority of funding allocated likely would be under executive order, which could be easily reversed once out of office, contrary to the structure of Ocasio-Cortez’s and Markey’s Green New Deal, which is a congressional resolution.

While Sen. Sanders’ financial levies on fossil fuel companies and the generation of clean energy would help defray the cost of his plan, at least some of the money would have to be approved by Congress, potentially making it harder to implement.

However, two-thirds of Americans believe that Washington isn’t doing enough to combat climate change, with the majority already seeing the effects of it in their own lives.

If it can get the support, Sen. Sanders’ climate change plan stands to remake the economy. However, partisanship remains a major barrier to any climate legislation. Because of this, it stands to be a difficult one to accomplish. 

Perhaps the most well-known candidate, Bernie Sanders is a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist who is running on changing the structure of government entirely. he is currently in his third term and previously served for 16 years in the House of Representatives, both positions in the state of Vermont.


Bernie’s proposal in higher education is canceling student debt and making public college free for everyone. Not surprisingly, he has amassed a youth following in part because of this.

Bernie plans to achieve free public college for all by passing the College for All Act, which would provide $48 billion per year to eliminate tuition and fees at four-year and two-year institutions, as well as tribal colleges, trade schools and apprenticeship programs. He also plans to cap all federal student loan rates at 1.88% to lessen the burden of debt taken out for non-tuition purposes.


One area of concern is attaining the support of Congress. While this would prove to be a more permanent solution to college tuition prices, politicians of both parties may object to it. Sen. Sanders has the most progressive educational platform in the primary, meaning other Democrats may not support such an expansive piece of legislation — nevermind Republicans who currently hold the Senate, which would kill Bernie’s central education bill.

The stipulation of Bernie’s plan is its total cost. He intends to institute a tax on Wall Street speculators, which would raise $2.4 trillion over 10 years, completely offsetting the cost of student loan forgiveness.

However, some argue that student loan forgiveness disproportionately benefits the wealthier classes. As Charles Lane from the Washington Post argues, “Every tax dollar Sanders extracts from the plutocracy to pay off student debt is a dollar that won’t be available to pay for other programs, including some that would disproportionately benefit lower-income people.”

While Sen. Sanders’ plan would benefit students, it’s important to realize its limitations in addressing educational attainment disparities. Even if Democrats gain the Senate, his policies could prove polarizing within the party, potentially making them unlikely to pass.


Bernie’s immigration plan centers around reshaping the immigration system. He plans to break up Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Patrol — the former being cited as a perpetrator of human rights abuses at the United States-Mexico border.

Bernie Sanders holds a rally at Colorado State University on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign on Oct. 17, 2016. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Sen. Sanders intends to reverse Donald Trump’s executive orders on day one, helping to alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border. The majority of his reforms intend to counteract Trump’s actions and reinstate protections, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Sen. Sanders, like three of his rivals in the Democratic primary, intends to decriminalize border crossings, making it easier for immigrants seeking asylum to make their case. 

Bernie’s policies could be beneficial for students, especially since most of it entails the use of executive action. Moreover, since some of his policies’ features are reflected by other Democratic presidential candidates, they may be easier for congressional members to swallow. Overall, Sen. Sanders’ immigration policies are feasible, having the potential to positively impact students.

Corinne Neustadter can be reached at or on Twitter @corinnen14.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *