Tuition Nixed Next Fall Under State Budget

Justin Greene
April 18, 2017

Also, to ensure that assets "stay in state" (in Cuomo's words), the legislation requires that Excelsior recipients continue to live and work in New York State after they graduate - one year of residence for every year that they received the scholarship. Bernie Sanders to unveil an auspicious plan to make tuition free for college students at the state's public colleges and universities. And that's the prediction of its main champion, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called the plan a "model for the nation".

So Cuomo proposed and on Wednesday signed legislation to make tuition free at NY public colleges for anybody coming from a family making no more than $100,000 a year, with the cap rising to $125,000 in 2019.

"We applaud Governor Cuomo and the legislature on a budget agreement that helps make college more affordable to a greater number of NY students and families. said Oswego State President Deborah Stanley".

In March, the Assembly proposed a five-point plan that would lower college costs for lower-income and middle-class families. Likewise, the mandate that students stay in NY for as many years as they were funded by an Excelsior Scholarship is a poison pill that reduces the value of the program for many students. If students move out of state, the money would be converted into a loan that must be repaid.

"To be truly helpful to needy students, Excelsior Scholarships should have provided aid to the majority of public college students who attend part-time".

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.

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says the controversy may be overblown, noting that about 85 percent of graduates from the state university system stay in New York after graduation anyway.

Fatiga also said she has mixed feelings about the program.

What if an Excelsior scholarship recipients wins a Rhodes or Marshall scholarship for graduate study overseas, or is moved by patriotism to enlist in the USA army in wartime, or wants to join the Peace Corps, or falls in love with a student from somewhere else?

Cuomo could have done many things to improve New York's higher ed system.

"They have paved the way for other states to go forward, for the federal government to go forward to make public colleges and universities tuition free", the Vermont senator said in an interview with The Associated Press. Expect to see some creative thinking on NY tax returns. An editorial by the Albany Times Union called the requirement "indentured citizenship" and said the residency requirement should be scrapped in favor of doing more to build up better paying jobs in upstate NY and more affordable housing downstate so that college graduates would have more incentives to remain in the state.

There is a $200-per-year increase in SUNY and CUNY tuition as part of the budget plan. 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.

NY creates programs to help young people afford college, but with onerous strings attached. Over the course of four years at a State University of NY college, tuition would make up only about $26,000 of the total $83,000 tab.

Officials say $163 million dollars go toward making college tuition free at SUNY and CUNY schools for middle-class families. But in the long run, Webber said, this could end up backfiring if other states do the same and keep their workers from moving to NY.

"A two-year degree is cheaper in two years than three or four or five or six", says Sugar.

While the tax wedge is certainly not driven exclusively by free-college tuition costs, the countries that offer this benefit have much higher income tax rates than the US.

The state also put conditions on students - they must be enrolled full time and take at least 30 course credits a year. "But there's going to be a lot of fine print, something hidden that's going to come back and bite the person in the butt later".

Other states such as Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee and Minnesota offer tuition subsidies that would cover tuition fees after state and federal grant aid are added in.

"It's a struggle right now for me and my mom to make ends meet", CCC Student Daniel Stroman said.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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