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Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, last week introduced legislation that would incentivize state spending on higher education to make college debt-free for students.

The bill, dubbed the Debt-Free College Act, is similar to the College for All Act introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent, last year. But while that legislation would make tuition and fees free at public two- and four-year colleges, Schatz aims to address the total cost of attendance, including room and board, books, and other expenses.

"My bill brings states back to the table and leverages federal dollars to reinvest in public education and help the people who need it most," Schatz said in a statement.

Thirty-two fellow Democrats in the House and Senate -- including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren -- have signed on to the legislation as cosponsors.