Graduation at Cal State University San Marcos. Photo by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

Backers of an initiative its authors have dubbed as “The College for All Act of 2018” have received authorization to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced late Friday.

The initiative would provide funding to cover tuition and increase funding for living expenses for all in-state undergraduate students at University of California and California State University campuses and community colleges.

The financial aid would be financed by a dedicated tax — ranging from 12 percent to 22 percent depending on value — on estate property in California valued at $3.5 million or more and transferred upon death. Backers say the only the wealthiest 0.2 percent of California households would be subject to the tax that would raise over $3 billion a year.

The initiative requires that revenue would supplement, and not replace, existing financial aid programs for college students.

The campaign behind the initiative said the measure has been endorsed by the California Federation of Teachers, however, a spokesman for the CFT said the federation has not taken a position on the matter.

Valid signatures from 585,407 registered voters — 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by June 13 to qualify the measure for the November ballot, according to Padilla.

— City News Service

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