WORCESTER – District 1 City Council candidate Edward Moynihan sent a letter this week to the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts [HECCMA], City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. and Mayor Joseph M. Petty, calling for a program that would offer a 10% discount on tuition to any student that lives in Worcester for at least two years.
On Thursday, Sept. 28, that letter was forwarded by HECCMA to presidents of Worcester colleges that serve on the HECCMA board.
Moynihan, who has named the program “Worcester’s Future Program,” believes the program will relieve some of the burden of the cost of higher education for residents of the city.
“In the past, members of those groups could afford to work their way through college, although they were still often saddled with high debt and personal loans. Today that possibility is shrinking, if not completely out of the question,” Moynihan said in the letter.
Citing the rapidly escalating costs of higher education as a drag on the economy, Moynihan said, “The costs of higher education have risen far faster than the family income and the rate of inflation. According to latest statistics, college costs have risen by 109% for private 4 year college and 125 % for public four year colleges (source: College Board), but median family income has only risen by 10% (source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis). Increasing debt reduces the options of new graduates, affects their ability to save for retirement and invest in their future.”
In addition to the 10% tuition discount, Moynihan also proposed an additional 5% discount for any student that matriculated through the Worcester public school system.
“I believe that this proposal can help our working class and middle class families reduce the debt they incur to give their children a chance at a secure future,” Moynihan said.
Moynihan acknowledged efforts of some local schools that have assisted with targeted populations in Worcester including Holy Cross’ support of the Nativity School, Clark University’s investment in the education of students in Main South, Quinsigamond Community Colleges programs aimed at servicing the needs of homeless college students and WPI’s participation with the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science.
“This program incentivizes the middle and working class to stay in Worcester. This program rewards our residents’ faith in our public schools. This program tells Worcester’s residents and education system, ‘We value you and our public education system,'” Moynihan said.