Some good news that should definitely be boasted about. The state of New York is now the first state in America to make 4-year college’s tuition-free, taking many by surprise.
Back in January, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a free tuition plan for State Universities throughout New York. Now, according to CNN, “Lawmakers agreed to include it in the state budget, which was approved by the Assembly on Saturday and by the Senate late Sunday night. The governor is expected to sign the budget bills.” The tuition-free plan will be rolled out through the Excelsior Scholarship, where all students attending State University(s) of New York or City University of New York schools can apply to determine eligibility.
With this proposal now set in stone, undergrad students who’s families annual incomes are no more than $100,000 will qualify for this exceptional scholarship opportunity to start. But there are few a catches – of course, students who dorm will still have to pay for housing and other campus living fees; and all those who graduate under the scholarship will have to live in the state of New York for the same amount of time it took for them to graduate while using the scholarship otherwise it defaults as a loan. In addition, in order to obtain/maintain the scholarship students will have to take 30 credits a year and meet GPA requirements for the program as well. As far as the others eligibility requirements, it remains debatable and unclear; the details on such will soon be announced.
During a press conference, Governor Cuomo conveyed, “Today, college is what high school was, it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it.”
The scholarship is set to begin its disbursement in the Fall, students will be able to apply this Spring.
You can view the press conference earlier this year with Governor Cuomo speaking on the plan below..
On April 3rd, Bernie Sanders said in a statement that, “Higher education in America should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few. If we are to succeed in a highly competitive global economy and have the best-educated workforce in the world, public colleges and universities must become tuition-free for working families and we must substantially reduce student debt.” Sanders is right, we have to ensure education for everybody despite their financial difference.
This is certainly a breakthrough for those who’ve always wanted to go to college but could never afford it. Education should never be a perk to only be accessible for the rich and wealthy, as it should be a privilege for all. We hope the other 49 states holding state colleges will follow suit, as this is certainly a good thing.
Moreover, many private colleges are furious with Gov. Cuomo’s decision on making tuition free for state universities because it will affect them tremendously. They fear that the competitiveness of the free tuition and their tuition plan will cause students to steer away from that institution because of the better opportunity that comes from schooling at state colleges.
Despite the slight backlash from this new proposal, states like New Jersey and Rhode Island are also considering on making two-year public colleges free. In 2014, Obama announced his American College Promise Proposal which paved a way for students to attend any community college as long as they maintained a 2.4 GPA. Obama’s proposal included adults from all ages; but as expected the proposal wasn’t able to be manifested. Not to mention, there is a program called All-Stars that is a 2-year tuition free program for students that are in the top 15 percentile of their high school classs.
Education is key and always will be. We wish to see other states considering a similar proposal to create more educational opportunities for the youth, especially those at financial disadvantages.