Excelsior Scholarships "step in the right direction"

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Bernie Sanders wave at the audience as they arrive onstage at an event at LaGuardia Community College, in NY for the announcement of Cuomo's proposal for free tuition at state colleges. With the adoption of the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget last week, that plan has become a reality.

The Excelsior Scholarship, first of its kind in the nation, will provide tuition-free scholarship to in-state residents at New York's public universities. For them, an Excelsior Scholarship will not be the deciding factor between going to SUNY Buffalo and taking a job at McDonald's. According to the Department of Education, degree holders earn about $25,000 more a year than high school graduates.

Cuomo has always emphasized that his plan is created to help middle-class families-from his news release announcing the proposal in January to a post on Sunday on Medium, a blogging website. That is 420,000 more jobs than 2014. Speculation Cuomo is plotting a run for president grew louder this week after his appearance with Hillary Clinton and budget plan some observers say reads like a map to the White House.

But the Excelsior Scholarship comes with a catch - any student who benefits from the program will be required to live and work in NY state for the same number of years for which they received free tuition.

Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, said the program could have unintended consequences - in part because of the increased cost of tuition for students above the financial cutoff. Tuition at SUNY/CUNY colleges ranges for two-to-four years from $4,350-$6,470. It does not cover room and board, a significant cost and major obstacle for many poorer students.

Students must live and work in NY after they graduate for the same length of time as they received the scholarship. "The program primarily fills an aid gap for full-time middle class students ineligible for full tuition programs targeting low income students". Those requirements vary across disciplines, degree programs and across the SUNY system from campus to campus.

In the wake of the bill's approval, California is already seeking to expand accessibility to higher education. They also question that the plain doesn't address the many other college costs beyond tuition. There also is funding included for operational needs to SUNY and CUNY, as well as funding for open educational resources including online textbooks.

Stanley said Oswego State has a long-standing commitment to higher education access, college completion and cost predictability. He said staying in the state for a year wouldn't be a burden because his family is here.

Upon graduation, these students are given first preference for hiring by a private-sector employer.

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The initiative, called the Excelsior Scholarship, emerged as a key priority for Cuomo this year.

The husband/wife East New York lawmaker team of Assemblyman Charles Barron and City Councilwoman Inez Barron todaycalled out Governor Andrew Cuomo as a hypocrite of higher education. This will be expanded to include students with a household income of up to $125,000 by 2019. The problem, they say, is there are a few other costs when it comes to college. Will New York hire administrative staff to keep tabs on students or depend on the honor system?

Southern Tier has 25,588 families with college-age students, with 81.2 percent eligible. Students from families making $50,000 or less wouldn't benefit because their tuition is already covered by other programs. Many states, including NY, already have loan forgiveness programs for graduates if they work in certain professions and in certain geographic areas.

New York's program will begin this fall.

However, she added that "without increased public investment in CUNY, Excelsior can not achieve its full potential". Companies or nonprofits can invest in a student's education in exchange for a share of their income in the future. A true guarantee of debt-free public college would mean a student could pay for all college expenses by working a part-time job, Draut said.

"This is a killer", said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a leading expert on college affordability and a professor at Temple University. There's no evidence that brain drain should be a big concern for New York State.

The Excelsior Scholarship is an idea so NY it took a an old Jewish Brooklynite ranting about how much better it was in the old country to sell it to us.

The program, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a legislative priority, will primarily benefit traditional students-those who go to college straight from high school and earn their degrees on time.

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