New York Is the First State To Offer Free College Tuition, Here's How It Will Be Done [Video]By Khaleb Skye A. Cruz, UniversityHerald Reporter
Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo approved the law providing free college tuition to students attending public in-state colleges and universities. The City of Dreams is now the first US state to offer no-payment four-year collegiate education.
As part of the 2018 budget, students in New York whose families earn less than $100,000 per year may avail the scholarship. Otherwise known as the Excelsior Scholarship program, it covers the basic tuition fee of students, but not the additional expenses like housing and food. The income limit will then be raised for up to $125,000 in two years.
Thus, if the current requirement is $100,000, then families whose annual incomes are below $110,000 may avail the program in 2019. Consequently, more people will benefit from it in 2020 as the limit goes up to $125,000. Overall, the New York Senate approved a whopping $153 billion dollars to make this project possible.
Although, per an earlier University Herald report, the law states that the beneficiaries of the Excelsior Scholarship program are prohibited from leaving the city after graduation. For yet undetermined number of years, the graduates must render service to the state by finding job opportunities within the city. If they refuse to do so, then they have to pay back their college tuition fees.
Aside from that, the beneficiaries need to get 30 credits annually, keep the requisite grade, and graduate on time. Around 32,000 students are expected to take the offer yearly, starting this fall. When it becomes fully implemented, Cuomo expects at least 940,000 people in 64 campuses would qualify for it.
Meanwhile, per PBS News Hour, some college professors say that "forcing" students to stay in the state after graduation will cost them more money. For one, they may decline better job offers outside New York and settle with lower paying employers. Nonetheless, the Excelsior plan has been hailed as an example for other states, if not other countries that value education.