Will Free College Offer Catch Fire? NY Details Raise Doubts

Posted April 18, 2017

Many political pundits believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been courting liberal voters ahead of a potential run for the White House in 2020.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration are spending the week touting a new program providing free college tuition for numerous state's students. With the adoption of the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget last week, that plan has become a reality.

SUNY Canton will be holding two information sessions about the Excelsior Scholarship, also known as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's tuition-free college plan.

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. But he also presides over a state, like all states, where many students don't complete college and where many are unprepared for the information economy.

The council's public-relations push has been supported by a number of funders, including the Carnegie Corporation of NY, the Lumina Foundation for Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. That is 420,000 more jobs than 2014.

"So we rank near the bottom in terms of state support and related to that is a failure, again institutionally, here in Pennsylvania for state government to think strategically", says Cowell. The Excelsior Scholarship would cover full-time students in the State University of NY and City University of NY systems, which together have more than 80 campuses serving about 1.5 million undergraduates and community college students. Cuomo was USA housing secretary in the administration of former President Bill Clinton before winning office as NY attorney general and then governor, the position his father, the late Mario Cuomo, held when he himself considered a run for the Oval Office.

Now we have a model for a tuition-free four-year degree.
The legislature may find future tuition increases more palatable than raising state appropriations, because "only wealthy families" would be forced to pay the extra tuition.

In this Saturday, April 15, 2017 photo, people walk across campus at Queens College in NY, where new legislation would allow some students to attend tuition-free. Students must be enrolled full-time and finish their two- or four-year programs on time. Each campus sets their own admissions requirements.

The FY 2018 budget provides $7.5 billion in support for higher education, a $448 million, or 6.3 percent, increase from a year ago. Those combined cover all the tuition of a two-year degree and nearly all the cost of tuition for a four-year degree. "Now I can just focus on school work and get good grades and hopefully get into a four-year college".

We are now in year three of the six-year cohort, and in time will soon see some of our very first graduates. Graduate students are not eligible.

Germany, with particularly high income taxes, has one of the most inclusive debt-free college programs, offering free college to foreign students as well.

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Fifth, Cuomo's law threatens to destroy some of New York's private colleges.

New York City has 461,499 families with college-age students, with 84.3 percent eligible.

Any student and family that can take advantage of this opportunity should do so without hesitation.
"Forcing college graduates to live and work in NY is wrong".

It's not unusual for scholarships to come with expectations - a friend of mine attended college on an Army ROTC scholarship, and repaid it by serving in the military.

If you receive the Excelsior Scholarship during your four years of undergraduate studies at a public college or university, you will be required to live and work in NY for four years after graduation.

"I think it will be a tremendous incentive to help stem the brain drain from NY state and particularly the North Country", she said.

Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress, which represents City University of NY faculty, said in a statement that the organization's members "welcome any measure that makes college more affordable".

However, she added that "without increased public investment in CUNY, Excelsior can not achieve its full potential".

SUNY Student Assembly President and UAlbany graduate student, Marc Cohen also welcomed the budget agreement. The union says almost half of current CUNY undergraduates report not being able to take a course they need for their major.

Although the head of the SUNY faculty union United University Professions, Fred Kowal, largely praised the plan, he hoped it would eventually be made available to more students.

Daniel Tramuta, associate vice president for Enrollment Services at Fredonia and President of the SUNYCEO Executive Committee, agrees that for the first year, it'll be hard to tell exactly what effect this has on the institution, stating that had the budget been passed a few months earlier, perhaps a few more students would have chosen Fredonia, but being so close to the acceptance deadline, probably no one will be making that last-minute switch.