New York just became the first state to make tuition free at 2 and 4 year colleges. Although other places around the world have free community college, New York is the first state to make tuition free at four year public colleges as well. While the plan was anticipated to cost upwards of 163 million dollars, Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to introduce the free tuition legislation in January of 2017 and lawmakers approved the plan this weekend.
As of right now, the excelsior scholarship can only be given to residents of New York. To be a resident, you must have lived in New York for 12 continuous months prior to receiving the award. In order to take advantage of this scholarship, you must be an undergraduate and attend either a SUNY OR CUNY school for either 2 or 4 years, depending on whether you want an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. There are a few other requirements in order receive the excelsior scholarship. Although you can receive the scholarship at any age, your family must be a low income family. A low income family for this legislation is is determined whether or not the family makes $100,000 a year or less, based off of one of Hillary Clinton’s bills for school funding in the past. While the free tuition bill states that only residents of New York will be able to receive the excelsior scholarship, there will be exceptions for students who go to graduate school out of state or those who join the military, according to the gov’s office. The only condition is that they must return to New York eventually.
The excelsior scholarship is taking effect in the fall semester of 2017. It has the potential to affect thousands and thousands of people but certain restraints prevent a large number of people from receiving the award.. Based on the number of students who attend full time and graduate within four years, SUNY estimated that one-fifth of its undergraduates, or 80,000 students, would qualify for the program, The numbers are smaller at CUNY, where 3,000 to
5,000 students would qualify, or a small percentage of the total student body. The major downfall, and the reason this plan will not be as successful as wanted is that, to qualify, students must attend college full time and graduate in either two or four years depending on their degree. This means that students must take 30 credits per year and at least 12 credits per semester. If you choose to take 12 credits each semester, you will have to take other courses that are offered off semester, such as summer or online classes. Not everything is as good as it seems, requirements like these were expected. Another potential downside to the free tuition program includes the fact that you have to remain in New York after you graduate for the amount of schooling you were awarded. According to the legislation, if you try to leave New York, your scholarship will be converted into a loan. Although the scholarship provides free schooling, students are not only expected to attend full time, but to pay for room and board fees. This may not be optionable for poorer families Over the next 3 years, the income gap will be raised to $125,000.
For those who can receive the scholarship and are looking to apply, you’ll have to wait until late May. Another option may be to go online to ny.gov and go to the excelsior scholarship page. Once you enter the page you can put in your email and ask to be notified as to when you can apply for the scholarship. While not everybody can benefit from this program, those who can apply can earn up to $5,500 from the scholarship. If you have other scholarships, the remainder of your tuition charge will be covered through a tuition credit paid through SUNY OR CUNY. Middle class families could save up to $26,000 for a four year degree at a state or city university of New York school.
In conclusion, Governor Andrew Cuomo just got a new bill passed that will make college tuition free for residents of New York with families who make $100,000 a year or less. Although not everybody will be able to qualify, it can potentially help some of the residents of New York and that’s better than none. Applications are anticipated to start this summer. Those who apply and receive the scholarship are taking on a huge responsibility by taking a full schedule and staying in New York. As we know, if you don’t qualify, there are other scholarships, grants and loans out there.