Two days ago New York college students were given the opportunity to apply for the state’s free tuition plan. With the Excelsior Scholarship (approved by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Board of Trustees), this initiative was developed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
So who is eligible? Full-time (in state) students whose family-earnings are $125,000 or less. They will have their tuition completely covered at state universities. This will mean that they will just be left paying for room, board and other expenses. Another condition of the scholarship is for students to live in New York for as many years as they received the benefit thereafter.
Should they renege on that, they would have to repay the scholarship from the city in which they are working. The only recipients who would not be expected to do so would be those in “cases of extreme hardship” or military service members and students with a disability.
Recipients also must remain in New York for as many years as they received the benefit and repay the money as a loan if they take a job elsewhere.
Following on from last week’s post when we discussed the hope of a budgetary agreement enabling students under a certain household income to receive free tuition for CUNY and SUNY, this happened. New York State’s budget increased by 2% to $98 billion, encompassing a 4% increase for education
Putting a kid through college in America is not a fiscally simple feat. Nationwide, it is pricey. Looking at New York as one example, the City University of New York put out a table for how much it would cost a New York state resident living at home for tuition. For 2016-27, at State University of New York Systems (SUNY) it’s $6,470, the City University of New York (CUNY), $6,330 and a private college, $36,630.
Now though, that could all change. With a deal recently announced by Andrew Cuomo together with state legislative leaders, tuition at both CUNY AND SUNY could be free. For families with an annual income of up to $125,000 sending kids to community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, the plan – phased in over three years – would start this September beginning with those with incomes up to $100,000. Having been hailed as an “historic” move an estimated 940,000 New York families would be eligible for this program, once it is fully in system.
Although it appears that all would be rosy, there are some concerns – even for pro-free public college tuition advocates. The issue is the conditions. For one to receive free tuition, they have to provide proof that they are living and working in the state of New York for the same time period that they are getting the free tuition. The only loopholes in this are if recipients need to leave a) to finish their undergraduate education, b) enroll in graduate school or c) extreme hardship.
In addition, there are two other measures contained in the plan to enhance college affordability:
$8 million for the promotion and distribution of free online educational materials for SUNY and CUNY students.
A grant of up to $3,000 for students attending private NY colleges with such colleges matching the grants and freezing tuition while the grant is in place.
Perhaps it should not come as too much of a surprise that the Maxwell School at Syracuse University is turning out such successful alumni. In the middle of last year, national rankings put the School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in the (shared) Number 1 position for being the “best graduate school for public affairs.”
Sonya Reines-Djivanides is one of these alumni. As the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office’s Executive Director (since 2015) and a prior Director of the Brussels Headquarters for the Search for Common Ground (SFCG), Djivanides brings to this role more than a decade of experience in conflict resolution. She also supervised the creation and implementation of SFCG’s Track II programs. At Syracuse, she earned her Master of Arts in International Relations.
John Berry also brings pride to the University’s alumni department. As President of the NYC-headquartered American Australian Association, he has to ensure the organization can establish a platform for communication between executive and political leaders throughout America and Australia. The aim is – with Berry at the helm – to “strengthen and promote economic, educational, governmental, and cultural ties between the two nations.” Barack Obama nominated Berry to the position of US Ambassador to Australia.
Deborah Alexander – with an MSc and a PhD from Syracuse – has had the opportunity to represent her country globally. She did this in September 2016 when she was sent on an international delegation for the purpose of observing the Duma elections that took place in Russia. Furthermore, in the regional election commission that took place in Siberia, Alexander was the only American who participated. Alexander boasts a diplomatic career in Bosnia, Kosovo and other Eastern European regions as well as close to 10 years in service in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.