By Anthony Tran ‘18
Recently, Governor Cuomo announced the New York’s Free-Tuition Program (The Excelsior Scholarship). The Excelsior Scholarship declares that families who make up to $125,000 per year would qualify for free tuition at all CUNY and SUNY colleges. Cuomo also plans to increase the qualifying income by $10,000 every year. As a result, more students would have opportunities to receive education. Free college is beneficial to many families living in the New York area, so the Excelsior Scholarship should be immediately implemented.
In order to receive the Excelsior Scholarship, the students will have to obey many requirements. Students who obtain the scholarship must live and work in the New York State after graduation for as many years as they attend college for free. The scholarship also discusses that students must be able to complete 30 credits per year in order to remain eligible. To me, it is a good idea to enforce those requirements because they exemplify that students must be loyal to New York and contribute to the state.
When Cuomo proposed the program, the program not only received praise, but it also gained opposition. Republican leaders stated that the taxpayers would have to pay for this program; as a result, they strongly disagreed with its promising proposal. In addition, the scholarship’s opponents claimed that the program is unpredictable with its effects. According to insidehighered.com, several national analysts remained uncertain whether the scholarship would motivate students to enroll in the CUNY and SUNY colleges or whether it would benefit wealthy families who obviously doesn’t need it.
In addition, the Excelsior Scholarship does not assist families who make the least amount of money possible. Families who make less than $50,000 a year are not qualified for this program. Even if they are able to receive the scholarship, they will still have to pay for the housing, books, and supplies, which is overwhelming for struggling families.
Although the Excelsior Scholarship might have some drawbacks, the benefits outrun them. More students can go to college and get the necessary education that they deserve. Their parents will not have to worry about the costs of college education. Also, the scholarship is not intended to replace other scholarships; students could benefit from other merit scholarships. As a result, the costs for housing and supplies should not be a problem if students collect an abundance of endowments.
The Excelsior Scholarship is a big step for most of the New York State. Based on suny.edu, nearly 80 percent, or 940,000 families, would qualify for the scholarship. That way, college would be more accessible to many students. This free-tuition program is an appropriate investment because after the students graduate from college, they would have to work and live in the New York State, committing to its economy and society.
Overall, the Excelsior Scholarship should be put into action. Students would have opportunities to receive quality education and to pursue their dream careers. Wouldn’t you want a place where all of the students are able to go to college without stressing to pay for tuition?