Quinn Unveils Proposal That Would Cut Tuition In Half For CUNY Students Who Participate In Work-Study Program Providing Bilingual Services For City Agencies

As part of her #AffordableNYC program, Christine Quinn laid out a proposal today that would partially subsidize CUNY tuition for bilingual students who qualify as translators in City departments and are willing to participate in a work-study program. The plan would serve as an incentive for immigrant students to enter college, provide financial assistance for working families, expand the language accessibility of the services that the City provides, and provide savings to city agencies who otherwise have to pay for translation services.

“A college education is the peak of the American dream, it is the ticket to a better future that parents plan, hope and strive for their children,” Quinn stated. “Yet this dream remains out of reach for many families and for others, it is a financial strain that is difficult to bear. This new scholarship program will help address the challenge of being able to afford higher education, and it is truly a win-win for both families that want to put their children through college and the city, which will benefit immensely from additional translation services.”

Quinn’s proposal would allow qualified students to participate in a work-study program that would place them in city departments working as part-time interpreters and translators. In exchange for working a set number of hours a week, half of a CUNY students’ undergraduate tuition costs would be subsidized. The City would launch the program with 100 slots the first year, with a goal of expanding in the future.

Students in the program would go through a certification process, and upon qualification, would be placed in agencies with the highest demand for language assistance services. Students can expect to be placed in city hospitals, the Department of Education, City Hall, and various additional city agencies. Quinn estimates the cost of the program at $289,500 the first year and $1.1 million by year four.

The nine languages that make up 95 percent of the City’s translated services are: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu with Spanish and Chinese speakers making up the bulk of New York’s non-English population. Annual tuition at CUNY schools is $5,730. Nearly 60 percent of CUNY first-time freshmen reported that they spoke a language other than English at home.