Campus Reform | Socialist students: 'Free' tuition would stimulate economy

Socialist students: 'Free' tuition would stimulate economy

The students argue that the move would help stimulate the local economy.

The Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale launched a petition to make college tuition "free."

Socialist students in Illinois are petitioning to make college tuition "free" because they say doing so would stimulate the local economy. 

The Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale launched a Change.org petition titled "Make SIUC Tuition Free." The petition currently has more than 70 signatures of its 100 signature goal. 

[RELATED: University of Illinois makes massive free-tuition 'commitment']

"The high of [sic] cost of tuition is directly causing lower enrollment at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale," the petition states. "This hurts SIUC students, university employees, and the Carbondale community."

"SIUC Young Democratic Socialists of America asks the SIUC Administration to create a vision of growth including free tuition for all Illinois residents. Let's end student debt and help Carbondale prosper," the petition adds. 

SIUC student Layne Ellingsworth told KFVS-TV that making tuition free would stimulate the economy. 

“More jobs and more students means more money circulating in the local economy,” Ellingsworth said. 

The SIUC YDSA chapter held a press conference on Friday to promote their petition. 

[RELATED: University prez: free tuition at public colleges is not enough]

"The need for comprehensive tuition reduction is critical now as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Eastern Illinois University both announced tuition-free plans aimed at students with family incomes below $61,000. SIUC competes directly with both universities especially Eastern Illinois University for these students at admissions time," the Facebook event description for the press conference reads. 

According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign website, the school will offer "free" tuition to some students beginning in 2019. Qualifications include the following, according to the university's website: 

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and Eastern Illinois University are both public schools that receive taxpayer funding. Earlier this year, bond credit rating service Moody's Investors assigned Illinois a credit rating one notch above "junk" status, according to the Chicago Sun-Times

SIUC chief communications officer Rae Goldsmith told KFVS-TV that making tuition "free" would not be sustainable "unless there's an alternative source of revenue." 

"I don’t know how we could move forward with a free tuition economically," Goldsmith said.

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