Senator Klein, Other Bronx Politicians Advocate Plan Making College Affordable at Fordham Event

Photo c/o Senator Klein

Senator Jeff Klein organized a press conference yesterday at Fordham University, where he outlined a plan he is putting forward in the state senate to make college more affordable for New York families.

 

“This plan will help New York families save for their children’s education, while giving college graduates added incentives to put down roots here in New York after they graduate,” said Klein.

He was joined by Mark Gjonaj, Michael Benedetto and Jeffrey Dinowitz, members of the State Assembly from the Bronx, who each spoke about their perspective on college and paying for it.  The push to pass these measures now is to make it part of this year’s state budget package, which must be passed by the end of March.

A number of students spoke, including Fordham Business School senior John Leto (below), as well as a student from Lehman HS.  

Klein’s four-pronged proposal, outlined in a report released today, creates tax incentives for families who invest money in 529 college savings accounts, doubles the maximum tax deduction for tuition and creates a pre-paid college savings plan, allowing parents to lock-in lower tuition rates. This comprehensive plan also includes tax benefits for four-year college graduates who stay in New York after graduation, giving young professionals more money to save for future expenses like a down payment on a home while retaining the talent and skills of New York’s college graduates.

Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) said, “Every child should have a fair shot at achieving the American Dream of going to college. The research is clear – a college degree unlocks invaluable financial and employment opportunities. No student should have to forgo a college education because of costly tuition or decades of debt incurred while in school. That’s why I have made college affordability a major priority this year.

Senator Klein’s plan calls for a Pre-Paid College Tuition Plan which would allow parents to lock in tuition rates for college-bound children at state public institutions and participating private and independent colleges and universities. 18 states have already adopted similar plans. The program would be overseen by an independent, non-political board. Pre-paid tuition accounts would also receive the same tax benefits as the current 529 college savings program.

Senator Klein would also like to increase tax incentives for parents who contribute to 529 College Savings accounts. Currently, over a third of these accounts in the state have balances of less than $5,000. To help parents maximize their savings, the plan doubles the possible amount that a single filer can contribute tax free from $5,000 to $10,000. For a couple, the maximum would increase from $10,000 to $20,000.

After helping families afford college, Senator Klein wants college graduates to stay in New York State. The Study and Stay Tax Credit would allow graduates of four-year colleges to deduct $5,000 annually from their income tax liability for a maximum of 10 years and deposit the funds into an account that would go towards the down payment of a home.

 

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