By Sophia Corso

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is facing significant backlash from students and the general public in response to her recent proposal to increase tuition at the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY). The proposed tuition hike has led many on the Left to call for “free college,” paid for by “taxing the rich.”

Their arguments, however, fail to recognize that “free college” is not actually free (someone has to pay for it) and that increasing taxes on “the rich” to the extent of the Left’s demands would result in increased expenses for everyone across the board.

According to Hochul’s 2023 State of the State report, her administration plans to increase tuition by a “modest” three to six percent at both institutions. In-state students currently pay up to $7,070 per semester. For out-of-state students, tuition is approximately $18,600. 

This is a declaration of war against New York’s public colleges. We have a better idea: #TaxTheRich to make CUNY & SUNY completely tuition-free,” the New York City Democratic Socialists of America wrote on Twitter.

Hundreds of students, faculty, and New Yorkers endorsed the socialist group’s demands. They are planning to hold a “Tax The Rich” protest event on Sunday.

The most significant increase that students would face is $1,116– which would still place tuition at either of these state universities more than $3,000 below the national average

Although an increase in tuition by any amount is hard to stomach in the midst of Biden’s crippled economy, it’s certainly not fair to suggest that the general public should be forced to foot the bill.

Both Hochul and the New York City Democratic Socialists of America are in the wrong in this case. Higher education already costs more than it should– according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of college tuition has increased by 2,580% throughout the past 50 years, far outpacing the standard rate of inflation.

Even so, demanding that the general public should face increased taxation in order to provide students with free tuition is not the right solution. Instead, universities must find ways to cut costs to the extent that would make a college as accessible as it was 50 years ago.