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New York's 'Free' College Offer Is Doing What ROTC Has Done for Over 100 Years

This inattentiveness toward the state's poorest people belies Cuomo's effort to make higher education accessible to both middle-class and lower-class households. The program does not cover room and board, fees or other expenses. As more apply, selectivity will increase, as administrators chase higher U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The plan promises to cover the cost of college tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools for families making less than $125,000 per year.

"We applaud Governor Cuomo and the legislature on a budget agreement that helps make college more affordable to a greater number of NY students and families. said Oswego State President Deborah Stanley".

"The reality of the college affordability crisis is that half of the costs of going to college are related to expenses other than tuition", Draut said. Instead, he pays for tuition only at state schools.

"We border five other states, for crying out loud, with countless taxpaying New Yorkers working in places like Northern New Jersey and CT".

Some graduate students and students finishing their undergraduate degree this year, including graduate student Melinda Fatiga, were hoping for a forgiveness plan. ETA recipients will be able to receive up to $6,000 through a combination of their TAP award, ETA award and a match from the students' private college. The governor's office said it expects it to cost $163 million in the first year, before it's fully phased in.

New York City has 461,499 families with college-age students, with 84.3 percent eligible.

This is only the most obvious drawback of the Cuomo plan.

Students have to maintain 30 credit hours a semester and can lose the "free" deal if they drop out or fail out. If the student decides to move to a different state, they would have to repay the whole amount. The legislation, which the governor signed on Wednesday, makes an exception for students who want to pursue a higher degree out of state. Many states, including NY, already have loan forgiveness programs for graduates if they work in certain professions and in certain geographic areas.

That provision brought blowback from, among others New York Times columnist David Brooks, who called it the "worst public policy idea of the year", saying it could reduce a graduate's lifetime earnings if they are prevented for several years from taking a more lucrative job in another state. Middle-income students would be protected by the automatic increase in the size of their Excelsior Scholarships.

McMahon also pointed out the harsh cutoff on the income restriction of up to $125,000. "At a time when racism and anti-immigrant bigotry are being enacted as Federal policy, NY must do better". The problem that many interior states face is that young college graduates moving into the state aren't keeping up with those that are leaving.

If anything, the focus was on arguments against the annual tuition hikes that were generating dissent and protests among public college and university students in California. The budget also includes $8 million to provide open educational resources, including e-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY colleges to help lower the cost of textbooks.

The state also has to look at what defines an "institutional scholarship", and quickly, as it could affect students who have already been offered scholarships for the upcoming fall. As the high-profile Sanders and Clinton involvement illustrates, this is all part of an attempt to rebrand the Democratic Party as a party of reform, long after the crisis and decline of the capitalist system the party represents has made such improvements impossible.

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher says the controversy may be overblown, noting that about 85 percent of graduates from the state university system stay in New York after graduation anyway. Cuomo, Clinton, Sanders and the rest are working to keep the working class trapped within the reactionary confines of this party of war and austerity.

Like all higher-education subsidies, "free tuition" provides yet more cover for higher-education price hikes above inflation - but it's taxpayers, not students and parents, footing those ever-higher bills.

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