Category Archives: Education

Helping New York Kids Make Smart Investments

College fees can be extremely cumbersome.  Even for the wealthiest of parents, once you are putting 2 or more kids through college, the idea of the loans and debts are enough to make anyone feel anxious. 

Which is why a new 529 Savings Plans Baby Bonds initiative taken by New York City is an extremely welcome one.  Unfortunately, not enough eligible parents know about how the 529 savings plans can be applied to the future education of their child.  But what it translates to is how the American government is giving preferential treatment to these 529 plans for 25 years.

The way it works – and it’s working right now in New York City – is that every single kid who attends a public school kindergarten has now been given a college savings account with their first installment from the city…$100. The idea is that by the time they get to college they will have an account of $3,000.

While a four year public college will cost more than $10,000, at least this is a start.

In addition, there was Biden’s pitch for ‘Build Back Better’ Connecticut plan, to increase investments in childcare. Since the challenges of the expense of this are such a heavy burden, this has resulted in keeping many American families faring less well than they should economically.

The Changing Face of College Education

As a student, it is imperative to examine the end goal when choosing an educational path.  Especially given the perpetual growth of technology and the impact that has, one must be fully aware of possibilities of job opportunities in the future. As such, colleges have an important role here: to look at what subjects must be offered.

Thankfully there does seem to be awareness of this. At a recent roundtable discussion held in NYC, President G.P. “Bud” Peterson – the 11th President of the Georgia Institute of Technology – said:

“Higher Education is going to change. It’s going to have to change. What is that new model of higher education going to look like?”

At the event – organized by Georgia Tech – the conclusion reached by Peterson was threefold:

  1. Education is in flux from a calendar-based to a knowledge-based curriculum.
  2. Students will not be deemed successful just from a four-year course attendance; new definitions of success will have to be determined.
  3. Students (as well as teachers) will be recognized as educators.

Meanwhile, in an effort to reduce cumbersome college fees, some top academic institutions are removing that obstacle.  This summer, New York University School of Medicine announced that 500+ of its students will be eligible for free tuition – instead of paying the $55,018 annual fee for 2018-19 academic year. This will not depend on fiscal need/academic performance.  Students will just need to pay for other fees like housing and material (amounting to less than $30,000).

Other colleges throughout America are adopting similar low fee/no fee programs.

New York: Investing in Education

In different areas of New York, there have been positive (and some negative) developments vis-à-vis educational growth.  Here we give a brief overview of a few of the recent ones.

Having just raised $2.1 million in new funding, Wonderschool is now in a position to open 150 programs in New York City.  The organization – a network of in-home daycare and preschools -mainly acquired the capital  the following non-profit investment firms: Be Curious Partners, Edelweiss Partners, Learn Capital, Omidyar Network and Rethink Education.  This news is most welcome given the New York City Department of Education’s announcement  that it will close 14 public schools.

When it comes to forward-thinking tech education, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is all about supplementing elementary and middle school education via student-customized games, lessons and more.  That was back in 2011.  Today, over 2 million kids use the  DreamBox Learning platform which assembles data on students’ performance, tracking how long it takes for them to get the right answer to a question, etc.  thereafter it responds by raising/lowering the difficulty level.  Per hour, over 50,000 data points are assembled for each student.

Education in NYC: Next Steps

In this video Manhattan Institute’s Director of Education Policy, Charles Sahm, Center for New York City Affairs Insideschools Education Policy Director Clara Hemphill, Alliance for Quality Education Advocacy Director Zakiyah Ansari, discussed with City Limits Jarrett Murphy the issues that currently require the most focus as New York City prepares for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year and the municipal elections.

The video was put together by BRIC TV, Brooklyn’s first TV channel that runs 24/7.

Day for Students

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.

Agreement Reached!

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

Here, News World TV gives the latest.

New Fiscal Benefits to NY Students

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:

  1. $8 million for the promotion and distribution of free online educational materials for SUNY and CUNY students.
  2. 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.