Thursday, 22 June, 2017

What New Yorkers don't like about the new free tuition scholarship

Assemb. James Skoufis on Jan. 25 Assemb. James Skoufis on Jan. 25 2013
Warren Dawson | 19 April, 2017, 11:03

Those who voiced concerns about the Excelsior Scholarship program during budget hearings this winter questioned whether SUNY campuses can handle an influx of new students without hiring new professors, expanding classrooms or increasing maintenance and construction budgets. This week when Cuomo celebrated its approval, he was arm in arm with Hillary Clinton. If initiated in the Sunshine State, the program would not directly benefit me. "It's really aimed toward full-time students, and a working adult would have a hard time taking 30 credits in one academic year". Room and board make up the remaining roughly $14,000 cost for which students are directly liable.

Personally, I don't think New Yorkers should cover the cost of a student's college education only to see that student relocate to another state upon graduation.

The sad reality is, though, that New Yorkers are fleeing in droves.

This program is expected to cost $163 million in its first year. There also is funding included for operational needs to SUNY and CUNY, as well as funding for open educational resources including online textbooks. These students would not benefit from the program, and indeed, approximately 90 percent of students in New York's community colleges would receive no aid from the Excelsior program.

There has already been much debate about a requirement that recipients stay in the state after graduation.

"It would just be a lot simpler to get rid of tuition", he said. In fact, states with significant scholarship programs have actually raised fees in an attempt to reduce the tuition costs supported by the state.

"There is no child who should go to sleep tonight and say 'I have great dreams but I don't believe I can get a college education because mom and dad cannot afford it, '" Cuomo said. The program begins this fall and will be phased in over three years.

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The Excelsior Scholarship is easy to criticize.

According to a University of Minnesota study, generally, Rust Belt and Midwest states like Ohio, Michigan and Iowa, and Plains states like South Dakota and Nebraska have the largest net losses in younger, college-educated people. While free tuition for some is a step in the right direction, it is nothing close to what many, notably Bernie Sanders supporters, envisioned. Students, both new and existing, can apply.

Interestingly, this harkens back to a free-market-friendly idea called income-sharing agreements that have been around for a while. Middle- and upper-class students flock to the low-priced alternative, freezing out students with fewer resources who don't have as good grades. It's an idea that has merit, but New York's plan is not quite that. The new program will be phased in over three years and begin this fall for NY families making up to $100,000, before increasing to $110,000 in 2018 and reaching $125,000 in 2019.

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. But he also presides over a state, like all states, where many students don't complete college and where many are unprepared for the information economy. The tax wedge is the dollar measure of the income tax rate.

Unfortunately, this is a solution in search of a problem. "The concept of investing in you and your education is that you're going to stay here and be an asset to the state". If New York moves more toward a purely publicly funded model, it may suffer from the slow decay that has hurt many state systems. It doesn't address the ever-rising cost of college, which will keep going up. The state would be better off eliminating the provision and cutting their losses.

The bluster of building walls, banning Muslims, and demonizing dissenters has pushed the college cost crisis so far down the national priorities list as to be invisible. Bernie Sanders wave at the audience as they arrive onstage at an event at LaGuardia Community College, in NY for the announcement of Cuomo's proposal for free tuition at state colleges.

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