This State's Free College Plan Won't Actually Send More Kids to College

Assemb. James Skoufis on Jan. 25

Obviously, the student's family's income must also meet the $125,000 or less requirement as well.

Cuomo's college scholarships are ostensibly meant to help students by unshackling them from onerous debt, Stoll notes. The governor's office estimates that almost one million state residents will eventually benefit from the new program. Doing so would drive tuition costs up further, he said.

Enrollment at CCC dipped slightly past year, so it's possible numbers might see an increase come next semester.

Take a family making $21,000 per year.

This is a step in the right direction to allowing citizens of this country to better themselves and set them up for success in the future.

Noah Sheehan, a sophomore, said he is anxious because all of the students that use the scholarship are required to stay in New York State after graduation. That assistance also comes with a requirement that a student remain in NY after graduation for the same number of years they received the benefit. "If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, he would have been shut out from running for eight years", says Dawidziak.

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Without question, people who have reviewed the Excelsior program say it could aid thousands of people by making college more affordable for middle-class families who make as much as $125,000 annually by 2019.

What if an Excelsior scholarship recipient wins a Rhodes or Marshall scholarship for graduate study overseas, or is moved by patriotism to enlist in the American army in wartime, or wants to join the Peace Corps, or falls in love with a student from somewhere else? Students must remain in NY for as many years as they received the benefit.

"It reduces the pool of work that would be available to me once I graduate, and in an ever competitive job market, that worries me", Hanna said.

Because Excelsior is what is known as a "last dollar" program that kicks in on top of other scholarships and grants, its benefit to the poorest students would be limited. More students will be able to obtain four-year degrees, and they will be able to earn more after graduation because they will be able to get better jobs, and they will pay back some of those earnings in taxes.

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.

Offering free tuition is not the panacea. Such programs also gradually reduce benefits as income increases above some maximum level.

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That aspect of college education is being addressed in California. They should focus instead on the kinds of things that will make NY a more desirable state to live and work in - more jobs, more affordable housing, and more programs for residents and their children - just like this one, but without the parochial strings attached.

Participation in the program involves a collaborative partnership with Lackawanna High School, Erie 1 BOCES and the Catholic Health System.

The governor said a high school diploma is no longer adequate for many jobs today.

New York City has 461,499 families with college-age students, with 84.3 percent eligible. My ears piqued as I counted the number of college payments left until my youngest daughter-now a college junior-finishes school and is off the Bassman payroll.

The cost of college is a major problem because it straddles students with debt. The governor's office said it expects it to cost $163 million in the first year, before it's fully phased in.

While living on campus is what everyone dreams about when they think of college, taking on debt to do it may not make it worth the "fun".

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