“moonshot for higher education”
Critics say the price tag supporters are low-balling the real cost which will be much higher.
The College Fix reports:
Free college tuition plan in New Mexico meets with opposition
A new plan to provide free college to all New Mexico residents is under fire by a taxpayer watchdog group and others who claim the state’s governor is underestimating the amount such a program will cost.
According to Paul Gessing, president of the Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Foundation, the $35 million annual price tag Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has put on her plan could be up to $65 million short of the program’s actual cost.
Gov. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat elected in November 2018, recently announced a plan to provide free tuition to all New Mexico residents, wading into a nationwide issue that has become a central topic of debate among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Currently, 17 states have some sort of plan to provide free tuition to select students at two or four-year schools.
When announcing the plan, Lujan Grisham called it “moonshot for higher education.”
Yet Lujan Grisham’s “New Mexico Opportunity” plan is notable in that it provides free tuition to all residents, regardless of income level; in doing so, the plan would use taxpayer resources to pay for the children of the state’s wealthiest residents to attend their choice of New Mexico’s 29 public colleges. Currently, New York is the only other state to offer such a plan.
Lujan Grisham has budgeted between $25 million and $35 million for the plan, numbers about which her office says they are “very confident.”
Yet Gessing told The College Fix that the plan “could cost a lot more right away and that if nothing is done to constrain costs at the institutional level that price tag could rise quickly.”
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