Stringer proposes free tuition at CUNY Community Colleges as part of workforce development plan

Bronx Community College
Photo Alex Mitchell

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech

As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to widen inequality gaps in the city, city comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer is proposing a workforce development plan which includes making CUNY community colleges free to help “upskill” New Yorkers and create a more inclusive post-pandemic economy.

“This pandemic has upended our economy and displaced thousands of workers. If we don’t act right now to revolutionize how we support New Yorkers and get everyone on the ladder of opportunity, we risk leaving thousands of New Yorkers behind and deepening the inequality gap,” Stringer said in a statement.

The CUNY system has long been considered a pipeline to upward mobility with a study conducted by Stanford University professor Raj Chetty arguing that the system propels more low researcher with one study claiming that the system propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class as all eight Ivy League schools combined.

“As we emerge from this economic crisis, we need to work with CUNY and other engines of economic mobility to build a pipeline of opportunity for the next generation and live up to a promise that anyone can make it in New York City,” Stringer added.

Besides canceling tuition for CUNY community colleges, Stringer’s plan calls on the state to expand its tuition-free Excelsior Scholarship.

The plan also proposes that the city guarantee universal access to CUNY ASAP to all community college students, provide a universal paid internship program for all CUNY students as well as expand certified apprenticeships, subsidized wages and bridge programs. Stringer is also proposing the expansion of career and technical programs, early college and College Now programs in all New York City public schools.

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