In today's society, a college degree is the functional equivalent of what a high school diploma once was some two generations ago. High school diplomas are no longer sufficient in gaining secure employment in the information age with its emphasis on specialized knowledge and developed skills. Education is America's first line of defense, yet far too many are shut out from higher education because it is not affordable; or they are forced to take out exorbitant loans to gain their degree and spend decades after graduation trying to pay it off. The total student debt now exceeds $1 trillion. This is an absolute outrage and heavy burden for millions of citizens. Public education needs to be free to all students from kindergarten through at least four years of college. Tuition at public institutions of higher education needs to be abolished and much, if not all, of the current student debt forgiven. The ability to do this in the richest country on earth is there; the will is missing. And so are Congressional Representatives like Lange who will make abolition of college tuition at public institutions a priority.