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New York State Legislators Pass Tuition-Free College

New York State announced tuition-free college yesterday. The new program is called the Excelsior Scholarship, and covers 2-year and 4-year degree programs. Govenor Cuoma says the value of a college degree is equivalent to that of a high school diploma 50 years ago — you need to have one to be successful.

It is heartening to see states take care of people, but it’s a slippery slope. Tuition-free college might end up in Washington! Oh, that’s right, Bernie Sanders did recently propose similar legislation in the Senate: The College for All Act.

Sanders, Cuomo Debut Plan for Free NY Tuition | Newsy

In January, Bernie Sanders joined Gov. Cuomo in negotiating with NY state legislators for tuition-free college.

Cautious about taking such a progressive step, New York applied several restraints to tuition-free college. For instance, the state requires students to continue living in New York for two or four years after graduation, depending on the degree earned.

Don’t even think about not graduating so you can move anywhere you want — if you don’t finish your degree on time, your free tuition turns into a student loan! Be sure to read the “fine print.”

Here’s The Fine Print On The Country’s Biggest-Ever Free College Plan | NPR

“New York state has passed legislation that would create the largest experiment in the country to offer free tuition at two- and four-year colleges. The Excelsior Scholarship, approved over the weekend as part of the state budget, would cover full-time students in the State University of New York system, which totals 64 campuses and 1.3 million students…” ~ Anya Kamenetz

New York Adopts Free Tuition | Inside Higher Ed

SUNY and CUNY students from families with incomes up to $125,000 will not pay tuition. But some aid experts are alarmed by requirement that graduates stay in state for same number of years they receive the benefit.

“…The action in New York represents a revival of the free tuition concept — which featured prominently in the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton last year and then was widely seen as dead after Donald Trump defeated Clinton in November. But Cuomo — with Sanders at his side — proposed a version of the plan in January and fought hard for it in negotiations with legislative leaders. Sanders, meanwhile, has also introduced a new version of his free-tuition plan in the U.S. Senate….” ~ Scott Jaschik

States show the way.


About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. Lara/Trace

    At 65 plus, you can get a free community college education here in MA. So it’s a few years for me but I won’t stop learning – ever! <3 to you JoAnn.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Me neither. Learning keeps us young, Lara! 🙂

  2. dancingpalmtrees

    It’s a nice gesture but according to this New York Times article it will only help traditional students who go straight from high school into college. I did not return to college until I was 36 years old. Many students are returning adult students. And yes I’m still saddled with my student loans even though I’m almost 60 years old. College was a wonderful experience and I’m glad I went but it is also a financial trap that will follow well into your senior years.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      That is a definite drawback. 🙁 Thanks for adding this info.

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