What New Yorkers don't like about the new free tuition scholarship

Caroline Beck
April 19, 2017

Florida isn't on-deck to replace its financial aid system. Some people will do just about everything to cover their dream of earning a higher degree. "... This year was nothing short of a resounding and historic victory for students in the State University of NY".

Cuomo's plan, which was included in the final state budget agreement approved by the Legislature, provides free tuition to State University of NY and City University of NY institutions for students whose families earn no more than $125,000 annually. In this fashion, runaway tuition inflation has hindered access not only to private universities, but also to public colleges meant to provide a solid, affordable college education for in-state students. It also makes sense in this context to view Pell Grants primarily as a means to help low- and moderate-income students pay for the living costs that their families can not afford to pay.

But he called the NY plan "too complicated". So, we must make sure to continue to use our influence as this program plays out to make sure it appeals to all our actual best interests - which don't always match up with those of our legislators. The question, however, is whether this program will be effective or if it will become a tangle of red tape.

The new program in NY seeks to ensure that state residents from families with annual incomes up to $100,000 (eventually $125,000) can afford to attend the state's public community colleges and four-year colleges. Right now, the qualified family income for aspiring beneficiaries is at $100, which would later widen to $110 and $125 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

If Mr. Cuomo had succeeded as governor, he'd be confident that recent graduates would want to stay in the state without either being bribed by a scholarship or being threatened to have to pay it back.

The new measure, called the Excelsior Scholarship, means that at CUNY's four-year and community colleges, the overall cost will drop from the $16,000 to $20,000 range to a range of about $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Otherwise, we will be known as the state that likes to start initiatives and never commit to completing them. The federal government has subsidized students for decades, allowing colleges to raise their prices at rates far in excess of household income and even health care, and encouraging students to demand ever-greater luxuries. He backed the exclusion up by arguing that tuition at New York's private colleges is much higher than at public institutions.

The governor said a high school diploma is no longer adequate for many jobs today.

Obviously, the student's family's income must also meet the $125,000 or less requirement as well.

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The residency requirement was tucked into the legislation during the extension period at the insistence of the Senate Republican majority. What about those ex-students who are carrying a heavy load of student debt? More importantly, it could saddle students with debt they didn't expect, she said.

In the wake of the bill's approval, California is already seeking to expand accessibility to higher education.

That hurts the state's educational diversity, it destroys jobs and it hurts the state. It's likely to draw more students to the state's public colleges and away from private colleges. By one calculation, the free tuition program will cut the cost of a four-year education at SUNY only from about $83,000 to $57,000.

Central New York has 37,922 families with college-age students, with 79.6 percent eligible. SUNY community college tuition is now $4,366 a year, on average, and CUNY tuition is $6,330 a year for undergrads at the four-year schools.

With tuition expected to be free this fall for CUNY and SUNY schools, there has been mixed reaction from different parties.

Students have to maintain 30 credit hours a semester and can lose the "free" deal if they drop out or fail out. Many are commuters and don't live/work in Ohio. They must repay the money as a loan if they take a job in another state. Or would MI want to keep them as their own? But the one that caught my eye was his concern that scholarship recipients "won't be able to seize out-of-state opportunities during the crucial years when their career track is being formed". Not all college graduates are Ohioans. And to improve college completion, the underfunded state universities that educate the bulk of the nation's at-risk students need more resources.

Under the banner cry of "free college", Cuomo garnered support for his plan, which only covers tuition. As in the past we had compulsory education through elementary school and then through secondary school.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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