Will free college offer catch fire? NY details raise doubts

Assemb. James Skoufis on Jan. 25

"But one of the answers is NY has one of the worst tax burdens in the entire United States of America".

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The closest now is Rhode Island, where Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo is pushing to make two years of public college free for residents, regardless of income.

The crude income limit includes a sharp cutoff: if your gross income exceeds $125,000 by even a dollar, you are ineligible. So, that's the big news here. If New York moves more toward a purely publicly funded model, it may suffer from the slow decay that has hurt many state systems.

Ware: What are some of those issues? Even Georgia's successful Hope Scholarship program had this unintended outcome, widening the college attendance gap between white and black and rich and poor.

Tuition will become free for University at Albany students whose households meet a specific income beginning in Fall 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday. The degree is important, but regardless of the cost of tuition, what good is it without the requisite and in-demand skills and experience to get employed? So, low-income students will see any hardly new money from the Excelsior scholarship.

SUNY and CUNY will not be expected to pick up any of the cost for at least the first four years.

Jacob Hanna, a freshman at SUNY Binghamton University, said the scholarship will be a "boon" for him and his family, but is a little concerned about having to work in-state after graduating. For students to be eligible for the program, they must be enrolled at a SUNY or CUNY two or four-year college full-time.

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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.

Those funds would be available to students whose families earn up to $145,000 per year.

But the one that caught my eye was his concern that scholarship recipients “wont be able to seize out-of-state opportunities during the crucial years when their career track is being formed. Their tuition is already covered by other programs.

"If the student lives or works outside NY at all, the grant is converted into a loan and must be paid back".

The legislation dictates that each scholarship recipient "shall agree to reside exclusively in NY state, and shall not be employed in any other state for a continuous number of years equal to the duration of the award received within six months of receipt of his or her final award payment". That is a very bad idea.

This is a power move by NY and will provide greater educational opportunities to a wider range of kids. It's an idea that has merit, but New York's plan is not quite that. For other families, it might not. For many of them, college would be inaccessible without these programs.

Nebraska and the rest of the nation should follow suit. "I see that as a tremendous achievement, and we look forward to other states following NY". "A great step for progressives". We see California doing it on climate change, and now NY is doing it with college costs.

Former presidential candidate U.S. Sen.

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Ware: The Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program in MI that you've written about, is funded by anonymous donors, while funding for the New York Program comes out of the state's budget.

Miller-Adams: I think we're moving toward a recognition that a high school diploma isn't sufficient for success in today's workforce.

There is some positive news for private institutions.

The law is estimated to cost $163 million in its first year.
"You entice people with something they really, really need and then you penalise them if they can't find a decent job and have to leave".

The program will not cover extra fees and room and board which add up quickly.

So New York wants either a return on its investment, or its money back.

Upon graduation, these students are given first preference for hiring by a private-sector employer.

NY wants to allow middle-class college students free college, but not everyone thinks it's worth the price of admission.

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Furthermore, what accountability is in place to ensure that students stay in the state once they graduate to avoid brain drain? And that's why they have the residency requirement. Then the state threw a curve: Following graduation, students would have to stay and work in the state for as many years as they received this assistance, or they'd have to repay it. But for leftists, Cuomo's curious plan doesn't go far enough. Just because this is the plan they came up with now, doesn't mean they can't improve it.

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