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Congressman Collins seeks to block federal dollars for criminal college program

by jmaloni

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Thu, Feb 20th 2014 02:15 pm

Collins will introduce bill to block federal dollars from being used to support college degree programs for convicted criminals

Congressman Chris Collins, R-NY-27, will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of federal taxpayer dollars to provide a college education to convicted criminals. The pending legislation is in response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announced plan to use taxpayer dollars to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals in New York state prisons.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons provides states with funding for educational and other programs at state prisons and correctional facilities. Collins' legislation would ban states from using the federal taxpayer dollars to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals.

"The governor's latest plan to fund college educations for convicted criminals with New Yorkers' tax dollars is an insult to law-abiding citizens all across our state," Collins said. "We hear over and over again from politicians concerned about the growing cost of higher education and the amount of student debt our young people are sacked with after earning their degree. Strangely, many of these same politicians think tax dollars should be spent to give convicted criminals a free college degree."

According to The Project on Student Debt, 60 percent of college graduates in New York state carry student debt. The average amount of student debt for New Yorkers is $25,537.

"Gov. Cuomo's plan is just the latest sign that, for a state that is the highest taxed and ranks among the worst in job creation, Albany has its priorities all screwed up," Collins said.

Collins will formally introduce the legislation in the coming days. As the House moves forward with the Appropriations process later this year, he will also introduce a limiting rider to ensure no appropriated funds in a particular bill are used to fund college courses for convicted criminals. Collins' bill would not ban states from using federal dollars to support GED or work training programs in prisons and correctional facilities.

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