Higher education gives New Yorkers a chance to explore exciting career paths, learn new skills, immerse in research, and study the foundations of the world. As tuition costs and student debt rise, it is extremely important that as legislators we ensure opportunities for higher learning are affordable and accessible.
No legislative agenda is complete without strong measures to support the institutions that train and educate New York’s future leaders. The economic and social pillars of New York are built upon the abilities of our young men and women. We must continually strengthen them.
THE VALUE OF A DEGREE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH
It has never been more important for young people to be armed with a college degree when they enter the workforce. Gone are the days when a high school diploma opened doors and ensured a path to high-quality jobs. In 1973, 72 percent of the workforce was comprised of employees without a college degree. By 2018, that number is expected to drop to 28 percent, and 45 percent of the workforce will have at least an associate's degree, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education.
In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, currently, the unemployment rate for those 25 and older with a high-school diploma and no college education is almost double the rate of those who have a Bachelor's degree or higher.
LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMS TO PROMOTE HIGHER EDUCATION
We must encourage the development of a strong, skilled and well-prepared workforce. Partnerships with community colleges and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, paired with incentives for employees who complete high-tech training programs, will cultivate a school-to-work pipeline necessary for a thriving state. I also support an increase in Community College Base Aid to continue to ensure adequate funding for SUNY and CUNY students. Some legislation I have proposed includes:
Affordable College Education Scholarship (ACES) Program - Allows legal resident students who meet certain income eligibility requirements to earn a bachelor’s degree at a SUNY or CUNY school at a total cost of no more than $10,000 (A.2753, Kolb).
“Retain NY” - Provides a Personal Income Tax deduction for interest paid on student loans and increases the existing college tuition tax-credit deduction from $10,000 to $14,285 and increases the maximum credit from $400 to $575 (A.5196, Kolb).
“High-Tech Worker NY” - Provides a Personal Income Tax exemption up to $50,000 per year for the first five years for new high-tech employees who have completed a high-tech training program within the past 12 months. This includes college, vocational or certification programs. (A.5195, Kolb).
- College Supplies Tax Deduction - Establishes college supplies as a tax-deductible expense (A.5214, Kolb).
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.