Gov. Cuomo proposes free college plan for students in New York state
Great news for New York students considering attending college in their home state in the next few years.
On January 3, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan that would offer free tuition at state colleges (including community college) for all students with families making $125,000 or less, according to the New York Times.
Free college plan would roll out over 3 years
The program, called the Excelsior Scholarship, would have a three-year rollout beginning in the fall of 2017.
It will, however, require legislative approval, which isn’t guaranteed, particularly because it’s expected to cost the state $163 million when fully in place in 2019.
If approved, the program would be rolled out gradually over the next three years, starting in the fall for families in New York making up to $100,000 a year. This limit would increase to $110,000 for 2018 and go up to $125,000 in 2019, according to DNAinfo.
The Excelsior Scholarship would also operate in conjunction with the state’s current Tuition Assistance Program, known as TAP grants. Eligible students would still receive TAP and any other applicable federal grants. The state would offer supplemental aid to cover the remaining tuition costs, Cuomo’s office has said.
And the program isn’t just limited to incoming freshmen. Students who are already enrolled full-time at any State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) two or four-year college would be able to receive additional funding to cover the cost of tuition if their families make under these limits.
Students could save over $25,000 on college
When fully enacted, Cuomo administration estimates the program would allow nearly a million New York families with college-age children, or independent adults, to qualify for free tuition.
Our home state of New York has the nation’s largest public university system, with 440,000 students spread among 64 campuses across the state.
We’ve touted the benefits of SUNY colleges even at their current costs, and this program could make them a no-brainer for qualified in-state students.
Current tuition at four-year State University of New York schools for state residents is $6,470 and $4,350 at two-year community colleges. Costs for City University of New York schools are approximately the same. Thus, a qualifying student attending a four-year college could save over $25,000 on tuition over four years.
New York taking steps to reduce student debt
New York has also taken steps to help those already dealing with student debt by introducing a student loan forgiveness program last year.
New York students who attend college in-state state and apply for the “Get On Your Feet” Loan Forgiveness Program can have their federal student loans paid for up to 24 months just for living in the state after graduation.
With student debt rising both nationally and within New York state, programs like this and the new Excelsior Scholarship could help prevent the problem from getting even worse in the future.
Other states, such as Tennessee, have also proposed their own free community college plans. We hope to see more states follow New York’s lead in making college tuition free for middle-class and low-income students.
Whether you live in New York or not, it’s possible to save money on college by maximizing your financial aid and choosing affordable colleges. If you’d like to learn how we can help your family reduce the cost of college, give our financial aid experts a call at 1-888-234-3907 or send us a message.