Senator Ball launches petition against Cuomo’s plan to pay for prisoners’ college


Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, launched a petition drive today in opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to publicly fund college for prisoners.

Ball delivers Dry IceCuomo has faced criticism for his plan announced Sunday to spend up to $5,000 an inmate to help them achieve a college degree. Cuomo said the program would cut down on recidivism and ultimately lower the roughly $60,000 a year it costs to house a prisoner.

But Ball and other dissenters said the state shouldn’t be using public money for prisoners at a time when residents are struggling themselves to fund their own college education.

“In a world of finite resources, where we are struggling to find funding for education for our kids, the last thing New York State should be funding is college tuition for convicts,” Ball said in a statement. “As some are unveiling ‘Attica University’, millions of New Yorkers right now are wondering how the heck they are going to pay student loans and help their kids go to college. Why not help them?”

He created a petition drive on his website:

Instead, Ball said he has proposed legislation that would establish a state income-tax deduction on student loan payments.

Ball is not alone in his criticism: Democratic and Republican lawmakers have also knocked the proposal, which Cuomo plans to put in his amended budget plan later this month.

“Our students face out-of-control costs and crushing debt if they decide to pursue a degree – hardworking families need help going to college, not prison inmates,” said Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, Orange County.


About Author


  1. I normally do not agree with Senator Ball, but you have to be kidding me. My husband and I make around $80,000. a year and we can not afford college for our two kids and pay the mortgage, car payment, electric, phone, insurance, oil, food, etc… My son will have to work upon graduating high school or get personal loans that will strap him for years to come. And when the other two graduate high school I have no idea what they will do, we can not afford to send them to college. Maybe I should have them get arrested and get a free education – this is unbelievable.


    If ????omo gets his way I will encourage my kids to either join the army or break the law to get a degree

  3. Our children worked hard saving their own money for college starting at 14 years of age. When it was time for college, we had them take whatever federal aid was available to them, making them accountable for their education. All this aid was unsubsidized. We paid for the rest with cash or parent plus loans. They both worked while attending SUNY schools to support their living expenses. Our oldest then went on to earn his Masters (another 3 years of loans). They are both gainfully employed and contributing adults, now carrying a debt for the next 10 years. Debts that are a big chunk of their disposable income.

    I just earned my BS paying cash for as much as I could and taking a small loan for what I couldn’t handle. My children and I worked hard and continue to work hard to pay for our college educations. It is not fair that an imprisoned criminal will receive something my law abiding children couldn’t, a free college eduction. This idea of Governor Cuomo’s needs to be stopped.

  4. Westchester Voter on

    As a person who completed College as an adult, (and paid off the College loans as well) I disagree with Cuomo’s plan. We need to fund education for kindergarteners, not convicts. There is a limit to what we New Yorkers need to pay for. Our Governor gives lip service to many things that are worthwhile – but never has commented on the HUD punishments that directly affect low income communities in Westchester, including funds for lead abatements. Let’s hope the Board of Legislators here in Westchester vote to sue HUD for the CBDG (Community based development grants) HUD unfairly withdrew as punishment to Westchester for not completing an analysis of impediments to fair and affordable housing here in Westchester that is to their liking.

  5. Are you Kidding me? My husband is paying off medical school loans, 4 children’s college loans and my nursing school loans. If I break the law will they be all forgiven? This will save us about $300,000, going to jail might be worth it!

  6. I’m am a full functioning working citizen who has never been imprisoned. I graduated from college almost 7 years ago and still paying off almost 50,000 in student loan debts today. I do not work in my field of study, regardless I can barley get by making my payments. High interest rates on private and federal loans. You are going to give away my education for my hard working tax dollars, and do nothing for my debt? Absolute garbage, Cuomo should do something for the hard working citizens struggling with student loan debt instead of rewarding criminals.