On Tuesday, September 25, 2017 Edward Moynihan, who is running for Worcester’s District 1 seat on the City Council, sent a letter (attached) to the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (HECCMA), the City Manager, and the Mayor calling for a new program, that he has named “Worcester’s Future Program,” will relieve some of the burden of the cost of higher education for residents of the city.
Moynihan hopes that by addressing the consortium and the city’s government directly, he will be able to start a dialogue on the importance of higher education and the financial burden that it places on middle- and working-class families that comprise the majority of District 1. “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,” the candidate said in the letter.
Moynihan cited the rapidly escalating costs of higher education as an economic drag on the economy. “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.”
Moynihan is calling for the members of the HECCMA to offer a 10% discount on tuition to any student that lives in Worcester for at least 2 years prior to their application. He also proposed that 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 acknowledges the efforts of the individual schools to assist targeted populations in the city. “Holy Cross supports the Nativity School, Clark University has invested in the education of students in Main South, Quinsigamond Community College is developing programs to provide wrap around services and meet the needs of homeless college students, WPI supports the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science to name a few of the programs supported by higher institutions. However, this tuition break is open to all students of Worcester period – no other qualifications.”
Citing higher education as the pillar of economic security and community strength, he said, “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.”
Currently, state schools offer in-state and out-of-state tuition rates for students. Mr. Moynihan indicated that the idea in the letter is a similar concept, but one that has a bit more value attached to it. The program would be undertaken voluntarily and therefore would be a greater sign of civic and municipal pride. In the letter he said, “Your support of this proposal would show that Worcester’s Future is as vital to your success as you have been to ours.”