Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

Private colleges face a 'new landscape' with free tuition plan

Private colleges face a 'new landscape' with free tuition plan

About 80 percent of families with college-age students would qualify for the program, which would apply to all two and four-year colleges in NY state, according to Cuomo.

Obviously, the student's family's income must also meet the $125,000 or less requirement as well. That ceiling will increase to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

Columnist David Brooks took the plan to task in Friday's New York Times, calling the plan "regressive" for not doing more for the poor and covering non-tuition expense. The legislation, which the governor signed on Wednesday, makes an exception for students who want to pursue a higher degree out of state.

The sad reality is, though, that New Yorkers are fleeing in droves. That is 420,000 more jobs than 2014.

To Cuomo's credit, he has always been clear that the Excelsior Scholarship is created to help middle-class families too wealthy to qualify for federal and state aid but not wealthy enough to afford the cost of college. Students who receive free tuition for four years have to remain in NY state for four years after graduating, or pay the money back.

The governor ought to relish those news headlines about New York's "free" college tuition while he still can.

Now we have a model for a tuition-free four-year degree.
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. They said almost 940,000 NY families are eligible.

To receive the so-called Excelsior Scholarship, students have to attend school full time, maintain a minimum grade point average depending on their program and finish their degree on time. Each campus sets their own admissions requirements.

Hobart and William Smith spokesperson Cathy Williams was a bit more diplomatic when asked to provide a statement on the Excelsior Program.

I taught French and English in NYC for 35 years.

Even in Germany, where a generous welfare state is valued, per-pupil spending has dropped by 10 percent since universities became free.

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Upon graduation, these students are given first preference for hiring by a private-sector employer.

Not everyone is eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Other concerns about the NY plan are more generic. Using Pell Grants to pay living costs would also help to reduce students' reliance on borrowing to pay those costs - one of the biggest problems with the current loan structure, as much of the existing debt is accumulated to pay living costs.

Any student and family that can take advantage of this opportunity should do so without hesitation.

North Country has 18,542 families with college age students, with 84.8 percent eligible. "Forcing college graduates to live and work in NY is wrong".

I do acknowledge that the money for college has to come from somewhere and that somewhere being tax payer money. That assistance also comes with a requirement that a student remain in NY after graduation for the same number of years they received the benefit.

For her part, Nancy Zimpher, the Chancellor of the State University of NY, said that the issue might be exaggerated.

However, she added that "without increased public investment in CUNY, Excelsior can not achieve its full potential". 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. And to improve college completion, the underfunded state universities that educate the bulk of the nation's at-risk students need more resources.

"You're going to need more professors".

"The governor and the Legislature has made SUNY and public higher education a priority in the 2017-18 state budget, and this is a very good thing for our students, faculty and the future of the nation's greatest public higher education system", said Frederick Kowal, UUP's president.

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