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TOPIC: N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y.

N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 1 week ago #250500

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New York State Says Students Who Get Tuition-Free College Must Stay in State Afterward

Law states that recipients must live and work in state for several years after graduation

By Leslie Brody / Wall Street Journal

April 10, 2017

A new scholarship that will let many New York students attend state colleges tuition-free has a caveat in the fine print: Recipients must live and work in the state for several years after graduation or pay back the money.

Some advocates for affordable college criticized that requirement in the Excelsior Scholarship, a part of the new $153.1 billion state budget that passed Sunday night for fiscal 2018. They said it might deter some applicants, and could force some recipients to reject job opportunities beyond New York’s borders after graduation.

But supporters said it makes sense to keep scholars in state so they can contribute to the local economy and reward taxpayers’ investment in their skills.

“Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you take off and you move to California?” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday. “The concept of investing in you and your education is that you’re going to stay here and be an asset to the state.”


Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, hailed the scholarship as a first-of-its-kind in the nation and a boon for thousands of working and middle class students. Under the program, students in families making up to $100,000 a year can enroll in the state’s public two-year and four-year colleges tuition-free in fall of 2017. That income cap would phase in to $125,000 in 2019, at a projected cost of $163 million that year.

Many families and advocates have applauded the program, and the governor says 940,000 students would be eligible. But some express concern about the requirement that scholars must live and work in-state after graduation for the same number of years that they received the award, or it converts to a loan.

“Capturing New Yorkers and forcing them to stay in state as they start their careers is not always the best way to grow the economy,” said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher-education policy at Temple University in Philadelphia, and a free-college advocate.

She called a grant-turned-loan a “groan” that could saddle some graduates with debts of $25,000 or push them to pick unemployment inside New York rather than jobs elsewhere.

The program says repayment of the loan could be deferred during graduate school, and there could be waivers for debts that would “involve extreme hardship.” But Ms. Goldrick-Rab said that criteria were vague, subjective and an administrative headache.

Deborah Glick, a Democrat who chairs the Assembly’s higher-education committee, said such clawbacks are common, and the vast majority of graduates already remain in state after leaving the City University of New York and State University of New York.

“I always say my role is to assist students in becoming the biggest taxpayers in the state,” she said.


She predicted about 32,000 students a year would take advantage of the Excelsior Scholarship.

The program, which kicks in after students have exhausted other sources of federal and state assistance, requires them to be enrolled full-time, average 30 credits a year and maintain a grade-point average that will lead to a degree.

Some advocates for low-income families said those conditions hurt students who need to work part-time. They also noted that the tuition awards don’t cover books, transportation, housing or other expenses that often make up the bulk of the costs of attending these public colleges.

Patrick Warren, a sophomore at CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College who aims to apply for the scholarship for a four-year school, said the residency requirement was a mixed bag. If he gets a dream job offer in Connecticut, he said, it would be frustrating to turn it down, but “the optimist in me says I’ll find a good job in New York.”

Elsewhere in the education budget, lawmakers increased overall school aid to $25.8 billion, up $1.1 billion from the current year. That includes a $700 million increase in so-called foundation aid, which is allotted by formula based on students’ needs and local communities’ ability to pay.

Advocates for struggling districts said that wasn’t enough, though some expressed relief that the budget didn’t eliminate the foundation aid formula altogether, as some had feared it would.

For high-poverty districts, the budget expands after-school programs, public prekindergarten and community schools, which offer social services and health clinics.

Some charter school boosters welcomed more rental assistance for new and expanding charter schools in New York City.

Write to Leslie Brody at
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N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 1 week ago #250927

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N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 1 week ago #250932

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As I've mentioned before and as I'm sure you know JSJ, currently NY State TAP will pay $5,500 to families making 75K or less, with no strings attached after graduation. That goes a long ways towards paying the CUNY tuition of 6-7K and the SUNY tuition of 8-9K. There are other funds available in the form of grants, scholarships, etc to most kids that can bridge the gap between and cover the full tuition. So other than upping the income requirement to 100K, I'm not really sure how this is much different. But it sure does make for good headlines for any politician aspiring to higher office.
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N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 1 week ago #250953

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Monte wrote:
As I've mentioned before and as I'm sure you know JSJ, currently NY State TAP will pay $5,500 to families making 75K or less, with no strings attached after graduation. That goes a long ways towards paying the CUNY tuition of 6-7K and the SUNY tuition of 8-9K. There are other funds available in the form of grants, scholarships, etc to most kids that can bridge the gap between and cover the full tuition. So other than upping the income requirement to 100K, I'm not really sure how this is much different. But it sure does make for good headlines for any politician aspiring to higher office.

Just another left wing entitlement. The stipulation that a graduate stays in NY is just plain dumb - A SUNY grad is no more desirable for a NYS employer than any other graduate, and may be less desirable when competing for jobs from better qualified applicants. They will pay the same taxes as someone residing and working in the state who went to a private school or out of state school. This is not like a military commitment that pays for med school - but it is designed to sound like NYS would benefit from a SUNY or CUNY grad working here.

How about vocational training for American citizens to become tradesmen - carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc and then requiring all contractors to hire only those here legally?
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N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 1 week ago #250955

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I want to preface my comments by stating that I may not be fully informed about the specifics of this situation so I apologize, in advance, if some of the thoughts shared below have been addressed in the program. Thankfully, my own kids graduated from college many years ago so my interest is primarily as a resident and taxpayer.

I believe that there should be quantitative and qualitative requirements attached to these "handouts". I don't want to see public money handed out to kids who are not reasonably serious students. Students should be required to successfully complete a prescribed minimum number of credits per semester (at least 12) with a reasonable minimum GPA (at least 2.0, maybe higher?). Students who fail to meet this criteria should lose access to this funding. There should also be a maximum number of years that students can have access to these funds The public should not be supporting "professional" students.
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N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 1 week ago #250971

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Monte wrote:
As I've mentioned before and as I'm sure you know JSJ, currently NY State TAP will pay $5,500 to families making 75K or less, with no strings attached after graduation. That goes a long ways towards paying the CUNY tuition of 6-7K and the SUNY tuition of 8-9K. There are other funds available in the form of grants, scholarships, etc to most kids that can bridge the gap between and cover the full tuition. So other than upping the income requirement to 100K, I'm not really sure how this is much different. But it sure does make for good headlines for any politician aspiring to higher office.

Free tuition for incomes up to $125K
vs.
60-80% of tuition for incomes up to $75K

Seems like a significant difference.
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N.Y. State Scholarships / Must Stay in N.Y. 2 months 2 days ago #251699

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Tuition-Free College Is Nothing More Than a Political Ploy

New York’s plan makes no sense except as a way for Gov. Cuomo to pitch Iowa voters ahead of 2020.

By Allysia Finley

April 19, 2017

New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo rolled out a plan last week to give free tuition to middle-class students attending the state’s public colleges. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were quick to praise Mr. Cuomo’s political ploy, whose true target isn’t New Yorkers but Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The governor presents himself as a champion of the middle class, but it has been fleeing the state in droves due to the lack of jobs and high cost of living. More than 191,000 New Yorkers decamped last year for other states, 43,000 of them to Florida alone. About three-quarters of the state’s counties have lost population since 2010, when Mr. Cuomo was elected. The New York City area continues to grow thanks largely to an influx of foreign immigrants.

Alas, the plan for tuition-free college merely redistributes income while giving the middle class little actual help. In fact, many of the scheme’s putative beneficiaries may be harmed.

Consider the terms and conditions for the state scholarship. To qualify, students must come from families earning less than $100,000 ($125,000 by 2019)—and they must attend school full-time and graduate on time. The State University of New York estimates that about a fifth of its undergraduates would be eligible. A mere 2% of students at the City University of New York would qualify—in part because of low graduation rates, just 5% for full-time students at CUNY’s York College.

There are also claw-back provisions. At the end of each year, scholarship recipients who don’t complete 30 credits—a full course load for two semesters—could lose their grant award for that second semester and get stuck taking out loans to pay back the state.

Students also have to commit to living and working in New York after they graduate for as many years as they receive the scholarship. If they leave the state, the grant turns into a loan. This kind of indentured servitude could keep young graduates from pursuing higher-paying employment elsewhere.

Scholarship recipients also won’t save as much money as they might think. Annual tuition for in-state students at SUNY community colleges is roughly $4,370. The figure for the state’s public four-year schools is about $6,470. Low-income students can get federal Pell grants of up to $5,920 a year. New York’s Tuition Assistance Program, which covers students whose families earn less than $80,000, can further reduce tuition by $500 to $5,000 each year.

In other words, many middle-class students already are paying little to nothing for tuition. Students who receive Gov. Cuomo’s scholarships, however, would still have to pay for room and board, which SUNY estimates will run between $10,000 and $13,000 a year.

Mr. Cuomo says the plan will cost state taxpayers a mere $163 million by 2019. Yet hundreds of millions more in federal student aid may flow to public colleges because of increased enrollment, which may be one of the governor’s unstated goals. Since 2010, enrollment at SUNY community colleges has fallen on average by about 12%. Between 2011 and 2015, enrollment dropped by 8% at SUNY Buffalo State and 18% at Erie Community College.

Promising free tuition could steer more students to public schools from private ones. The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York estimates Gov. Cuomo’s plan would boost enrollment at public colleges by 116,000 while reducing the head count at nonprofit schools by 11%. The declines would be particularly acute at small, less selective colleges. For-profit schools would be pinched, too.

According to the commission’s analysis, the plan would shift $1.4 billion away from nonprofit colleges, resulting in 45,000 job losses. Compensating jobs would be created at public schools, but dislocations would invariably occur. “Once this is out there and implemented, possibly some of the more precarious institutions will go under,” Gary Olson, president of Daemen College, told Inside Higher Ed. “And what that will do is cause millions of dollars of lost economic impact on the local community where the college is located.”

Thus, the plan could cause thousands of job losses in the upstate areas Mr. Cuomo has spent $25 billion—by his own estimate—trying to resuscitate. Yet his economic stimulus has so far produced little bang for taxpayers’ bucks.

According to a March report by InvestigativePost.org, upstate employment has grown by only 2.7% during the governor’s tenure, compared with 13.1% downstate and 11% nationally. Meanwhile, several of Mr. Cuomo’s cronies were charged last year in a pay-to-play scheme involving projects funded by his Buffalo Billion initiative—a plan to put $1 billion into the Rust Belt city.

“Why a billion? A billion to say to people this isn’t just another plan, and I’m not just another politician with another plan,” the governor explained in January during a visit to Buffalo. “We need something to really capture people’s attention because they have to believe it’s going to work if it’s actually going to work.”

Lawmakers this month approved an additional $400 million in subsidies for Buffalo. Add in the cost of free college, and this could wind up the most expensive publicly financed presidential campaign in history.

Ms. Finley is an editorial writer for the Journal.

Appeared in the Apr. 20, 2017, print edition.
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