Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday at LaGuardia Community College in Queens to extol the benefits of Cuomo’s new program to cut the cost of college for New Yorkers.
“I’ll take it!” Clinton said to a roar from the crowd at a ceremonial bill signing at the Long Island City campus after she was introduced by Cuomo as the inspiration for the program.
“This is exactly the image that progressive leadership delivers,” Clinton said, “not just talking about it, but actually making it happen for the young men and women of our state.”
“Now, somewhere along the way, we got off the track,” she said. “There is no more important issue than education from preschool . . . to higher education. Every child deserves to go as far as their hard work, as their skills will take them.”
Without mentioning President Donald Trump, who defeated her in November, Clinton took a shot at the Republican and his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep undocumented immigrants out.
“We don’t need to be building walls, we need to be building bridges. And the best bridge to the future is education, my friends!” she said.
“No child will be denied college because they can’t afford it,” Cuomo said in a rousing rally. “And the dream of opportunity is for everyone. And that belief in tomorrow . . . this society will work with you and nobody is going to be denied growth and advancement because of the money in their pocket, or the color of their skin, or the country they come from.”
Cuomo said the “inspiration for the idea” came from Clinton, although Cuomo announced the program with her rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who first pushed the idea.
In the state budget passed Sunday, Cuomo won legislative approval of his plan to provide “the last dollar” toward tuition at the State University of New York and the City University of New York. After he was pushed by the Senate’s Republican majority, the proposal was expanded to provide more grants under the state’s Tuition Assistance Program to students attending private colleges in New York.
“Every child has a chance to make it,” Cuomo said. “That’s what we’re saying today.”
The law will pay the balance of public tuition, about $6,470 a year, to families that make less than $125,000 a year, after all other state and federal aid is provided. Students also must graduate in four years and also remain working in New York for four years as part of the agreement, which will cost taxpayers $160 million a year.