Statement by Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College:
As Westchester County’s largest educational institution, we support the plan to make college more affordable for those seeking relevant 21st Century skills to support themselves and their families. This proposal would help increase access to higher education throughout New York State and help students improve their lives in the future. As more students enter community colleges and complete their studies, they will be positioned to transition to four-year institutions and the workplace where there is a need to fill openings in growing fields such as healthcare, analytics, and information technology.
Removing the affordability barrier is one of the fundamental aspects of the community college “open door” access mission. Some people believe that since community colleges are priced affordably, there is no need for financial aid and other support for incoming students. This is not always the case. Many of our students need scholarships and state and federal financial aid in addition to loans. Directing new financial resources to talent development in New York is a necessary investment that will reap benefits locally, regionally, and nationally.