ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- Governor Kathy Hochul and lawmakers in Albany are in the midst of budget negotiations -- discussions that could affect the lives of people like the current valedictorian at the City College of New York.
The governor's initial budget proposal would increase tuition at SUNY and CUNY campuses.
Jennifer Garcia, Colin Powell School's valedictorian, was born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
"I do remember growing up there was crime scene tape by the train station," she said.
Her parents immigrated from Mexico, and she used their sacrifices as motivation.
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Garcia attended the University of Illinois for a year, and then took a year off. After seeing the student debt she had racked up, she decided to look into CCNY.
"Graduating from Brooklyn Tech specialized high school usually we were pushed to the Ivy's, more private institutions. CUNYs and SUNYs were kind of looked down upon," Garcia said.
But to Garcia, a future free of debit, was a future full of possibility.
The CCNY president, Vincent Boudreau, says campuses of public universities are where social mobility is still alive.
"Degree choice is a college ranking agency that asks a pretty simple question. What difference did college make in the lives of your students?" Boudreau said. "They look at family income before you go to college, how much you spend on college, what debt you carry, and what your income is after you graduate. Among national universities City College is the number one national university in the country."
And as much as CUNY and SUNY schools can be life changing for students like Garcia, Hochul says the money has to come from somewhere.
"I proposed an increase in tuition to help accommodate that. That's what the trustees had asked for. But, we can look at out of state tuition, we can find more support from the state," Hochul said. "The bottom line is, we have to get more money into the system."
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