States could save funds by assisting students with private college tuition

Assemb. James Skoufis on Jan. 25

Assemb. James Skoufis on Jan. 25 2013

This week, NY became the first state to offer free college tuition for families earning less than $125,000 per year. A NY family that earns $100,001 and has one child at SUNY loses a tuition benefit of $6,470 because of that extra $1 earned.

Cuomo's college scholarships are ostensibly meant to help students by unshackling them from onerous debt, Stoll notes.

It's not forever. But those who receive the Excelsior Scholarship will have to remain in state for the same amount of time they received the award.

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. Those who earned a bachelor's degree will have to stay for four years. If students move out of state, the money would be converted into a loan that must be repaid. That would involve setting tuition as a proportion of a general index of ability to pay, such as state median family income or GDP per capita. But the reality of New York State's new program, signed into law on Wednesday, is more nuanced.

"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.

Students are required to take a full course load and they must stay in NY for as many years as they took the scholarship.

Some of the concern, though, may be unfounded. That conclusion took into consideration their finding that it takes longer, on average, for students to graduate from public colleges, so they forgo more in potential earnings.

At the same time, many small private colleges have room to admit additional students and could actually do a better job of retaining and graduating them, said Mr. Zumeta, who is a former president of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. Students, both new and existing, can apply. State officials also plan to make accommodations for graduates who leave the state for military service.

The FY 2018 budget provides $7.5 billion in support for higher education, a $448 million, or 6.3 percent, increase from past year. Those great out-of-state jobs and grad school opportunities will be there after graduates have fulfilled their Excelsior Scholarship residency requirement and are ready for a change.

Assemblyman James Skoufis has said he will introduce legislation to repeal the part that requires a grad to work in the state, but supports the residency requirement.

The Excelsior Scholarship is an idea so NY it took a an old Jewish Brooklynite ranting about how much better it was in the old country to sell it to us. Massachusetts, where I moved to from NY, saw its population grow 4 percent, or about 250,000 people. The union says almost half of current CUNY undergraduates report not being able to take a course they need for their major.

A media release says funding in the budget will also include money to fix roads and bridges, creating the Empire State Trail, creating a Economic Development Hub at Plattsburgh International Airport, master plan to build the "Gateway to the Adirondacks" in North Hudson, funds to promote tourism, upgrades to Gore and Whiteface Mountain Ski Resorts.

The Excelsior Scholarship is a "last-dollar" grant.

Students at University at Albany, part of the state university system, aren't so sure.

I was able to escape the state without devastating personal financial consequences, which is more than can be said for the Excelsior indentured servants, er, "scholarship recipients".

But ultimately, the economics major is optimistic he'll land a job. Students from families making $50,000 or less wouldn't benefit because their tuition is already covered by other programs.

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