During the 2016 presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) made free tuition to public colleges and universities, part of his platform. Sanders is also a self-proclaimed socialist who believes that average hard working Americans should pay for everyone else’s benefits.
Now, New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has joined the socialist platform of Sanders by announcing that he wants to offer free tuition to city and state public colleges and universities for every qualified student. Cuomo’s plan calls for free tuition to anyone whose family earns $125,000 a year or less.
That sounds like a noble gesture, but someone has to pay the expenses of those colleges and universities. It costs money to pay for salaries, supplies, buildings, utilities, etc. So where is all the money for the colleges and universities coming from?
I have friends in the United Kingdom and one of them took advantage of their free tuition to obtain a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Without the free tuition, he said he probably would not have been able to attend college and get his degrees.
This is the type of example that liberals and socialists like Sanders and Cuomo point to, to help prove their argument. They point to many students and parents who cannot afford to pay tuition. They also point to the thousands of students who take out massive student loans to pay for their college education. They also point to the fact that so many of these students spend years trying to pay off their massive student debts. They also point to the fact that so many enter into marriage relationships carrying the debt of their student loans with them, making it harder for them to establish themselves and their new families.
One thing my friend in the United Kingdom told me is that they pay high taxes that are used to pay for the free tuition and for their free nationalized healthcare system. He also warned me about their system, saying it was far from ideal.
For instance, their free healthcare system, which is what Obamacare is partially modeled after, is in deep financial trouble. Consequently, the government regularly reduces the medical issues, treatments, medications, etc. that it provides under the free healthcare. Another acquaintance of mine who works in the UK needed to have her gall bladder removed a few years back. She was in extreme pain and found eating anything made her condition worse. Even after doctors agreed the gall bladder had to go and that it was a covered item, it took over 7 months for her to finally have the surgery to remove it. She told me that was the worst 7 months of her life due to all of the pain and discomfort. Anyone who has had gall bladder issues will tell you it can sometimes feel like you are having a heartache.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the average cost for a public college in New York. According to the SUNY (State University of New York) website:
“For academic year 2015-2016, the average tuition costs for Public Colleges in New York State (Undergraduate) is $ 6,470 for in-state and $12,712 for out-of-state.”
For a 4-year degree, one is looking at an average cost of $25,880. The same SUNY website lists the Fall 2015 undergraduate enrollment at 402,722, of which 12,597 were out-of-state students and 19,597 were international students. That leaves approximately 370,528 undergraduate in-state students. If only half of those come from families earning $125,000 a year or less, that means about 185,264 students with free tuition. At $25,880 for four years, New York tax payers would be on the hook for at least $4.8 billion.
One website lists New York as the state with the eighth highest state income tax rate at 8.82%. If Cuomo gets his way, New York taxpayers will find themselves paying higher taxes. Everyone in the state, regardless if they have anyone attending college or not will be paying higher taxes for benefits of others. New York could and probably will climb higher on the list of states with the highest tax rates in the nation and at least part of that would be due to Cuomo’s socialist tuition program.
I know that the cost of living is high in New York and I wonder how many families making less than $125,000 a year can afford to pay Cuomo’s higher taxes? Governor Cuomo is intent on bankrupting the citizens of New York.