Clinton lauds free NY tuition plan as a progressive first

Getty ImagesGov. Andrew Cuomo

Getty ImagesGov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the tuition plan in January.

Cuomo announced April 8 that the Excelsior Scholarship, a first-of-its-kind in the nation program will provide tuition-free college at New York's public colleges and universities to families making up to $125,000 a year. Now, families whose incomes are less than $100,000 can avail no-fee education at the schools of the State University of New York (SUNY) starting this fall. In the fall of 2018 it will become available for those making up to $110,00 per year and by fall 2019 it will be fully available for families making $125,000 per year. "Most students need room and board, that's where the big expenses are".

After graduation, students who are given the scholarship must then remain living and working in NY for a minimum of the same number of years they had been given the funding.

The Excelsior Scholarship is not meant to replace other merit scholarships which can be used for expenses other than tuition. The program has no age limit and once students receive the scholarship, they must be enrolled in college full-time, average at least 30 credits per year and meet the GPA requirement for their program.

Crabill says the campus can absorb extra students, although she says depending on numbers, there could be issues down the road.

Under terms of the deal, the program would be phased in over three years.

Cuomo also responded to critics who said the tuition-free scholarship program for SUNY would hurt New York's vast network of private colleges. If they don't then the scholarships would convert to student loans.

The state will increase spending on higher education to cover the cost of the program. That would cover about 25,000 students who attend a 4 year school... but an estimated 200,000 students would be eligible.

The scholarship covers tuition, which is now $6,470 at the State University of New York (SUNY) for one year of study toward a bachelor's degree. Adults entering college for the first time are also eligible. He said, "This program does nothing to address the needs of countless low-income students and will only end up impacting a small percentage of CUNY students". Well it's becoming a reality for middle class students in NY.

"If Skoufis thinks 80% of all NY families is too few students, he should go back to school himself and take a remedial math course", Azzopardi said.

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