New York Daily News Pols Propose Free Tuition Plans for CUNY Schools by Erin Durkin
With President Obama set to tout a proposal for free community college education in Tuesday night’s State of the Union, some local pols are pushing for the city to take matters into its own hands with free tuition at CUNY schools.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said instead of waiting for Washington to act, the city should eliminate tuition at its seven community colleges. He sent a letter to the Independent Budget Office asking them to determine how much it would cost.
“When you look at the political reality in Washington and the challenges that they are going to face in the upcoming legislative cycle, this relief is needed now and we really can’t wait for the infighting that’s taking place in DC,” Adams said.
Tuition for 77,000 community college students is now $4500 a year - but Adams noted free tuition used to be standard practice at CUNY schools.
Another proposal by Councilman Ben Kallos would have the city repay 10% of CUNY grads’ loans for every year they remain living in the city - so if they stay here for ten years, they’d get the education free.
“One of the largest hurdles we’re seeing to a productive America is everyone graduates ready to enter the market under a crushing amount of debt,” Kallos said.
He said the city would make up much of the cost because based on increased learning, a college grad will pay an average of $916 more a year in city income tax than someone without a degree. “When somebody goes to school and graduates with a bachelors, they’re going to earn more,” he said.