Socialist students: 'Free' tuition would stimulate economy

Jon Street
News Editor

  • The Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale launched a petition to make college tuition "free."
  • The students argue that the move would help stimulate the local economy.
  • 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.orgpetition titled "Make SIUC Tuition Free." The petition currently has more than 70 signatures of its 100 signature goal. 

    “More jobs and more students means more money circulating in the local economy."   

    [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: 

    You're an Illinois resident (parents listed on the FAFSA are also Illinois residents)
    Your family income is $61,000 or less
    Your family's assets are less than $50,000
    You're admitted as a new freshman or transfer student
    You're under the age of 24

    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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    Jon Street

    Jon Street

    News Editor
    Jon Street is a news editor for Campus Reform. Six years ago, Jon cut his reporting teeth fresh out of college as an intern at Media Research Center's CNSNews.com, where he interviewed multiple members of Congress and former presidential candidates. From there, he went on to complete a stint at Watchdog.org, where his exclusive, investigative work was picked up or cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Review, and the Drudge Report, among others. More recently, Jon spent three years as an assistant editor at TheBlaze.com. In his free time, Jon enjoys trying new coffeehouses around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and traveling back to his home state of Missouri to spend time with his family.
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