New York makes college tuition free In this Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Red Room at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File/AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
New York makes college tuition free
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There's a big string attached to New York's free middle-class college tuition initiative. Students must stay in the state after graduation. Otherwise, they must pay back the benefit.
 
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the requirement was added to protect the state's investment in a student's education. The requirement ensures they don't take advantage of free tuition and then leave New York. The rule wasn't a part of Cuomo's free college tuition proposal when he unveiled it. That was in January. It was inserted during final negotiations with lawmakers over the state budget.
 
The tuition initiative, which Cuomo said is a national model, covers state college or university tuition. It is for in-state students from families earning $125,000 or less. Students must remain in New York for as many years as they received the benefit. They must repay the money as a loan if they take a job in another state.
 
"Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you pick up and you move to California?" Cuomo said. "The concept of investing in you and your education is that you're going to stay here and be an asset to the state. If you don't want to stay here, then go to California now. Let them pay for your college education."
 
Students at University at Albany aren't so sure.
 
"I don't know how much I like feeling confined, even to staying in the state for four more years," said Bobby Rickard. He is an 18-year-old freshman. He is from Brewster. Rickard has not yet decided his major. "I don't know what life will have for me."
 
Cumorah Reed is a 19-year-old English major. She said certain technology jobs are concentrated on the West Coast. Many of her classmates will be surprised to learn they will not be able to apply for those positions immediately after graduation.
 
"I think it's going to be harder than people think," Reed said.
 
Ashley Mendez, 18, a journalism and communications major, said the proposal is a fair compromise. Many residents will stay anyway, she said.
 
"I'm a New Yorker. I wouldn't leave the state for anything," Mendez said.
 
Sara Goldrick-Rab is a Temple University professor. She studies college affordability, said the requirement undercuts the promise of free tuition. She said it could deliver a nasty shock to students who fail to read the fine print. Or to students who take the money believing they will stay in New York, only to find better job opportunities elsewhere.
 
"It's absolutely bait and switch," she said. "You entice people with something they really, really need and then you penalize them if they can't find a decent job and have to leave."
 
Republican lawmakers pushed for the requirement during closed-door state budget negotiations.
 
"We took the governor's original plan and made it better, by requiring students to maintain a certain GPA and to live and work in New York after they graduate," said Scott Reif. He is a spokesman for the Senate's Republican leadership.
 
Students who receive free tuition and then leave the state for an advanced degree won't have to pay the money back assuming they return to New York once they complete their graduate studies. State officials also plan to make accommodations for graduates who leave the state for military service.
 
As part of the budget, lawmakers also approved a new tuition assistance program for students at private colleges and universities. It offers up to $3,000 in tuition grants. That assistance also comes with a requirement that a student remain in New York after graduation for the same number of years they received the benefit.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What if college were free in all 50 states?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (134)
  • carmenh-orv
    4/18/2017 - 08:04 a.m.

    If college was free in all 50 states I think that more people will go to college because many people do not go to college because they cannot afford the tuition.

  • danielb-kul
    4/18/2017 - 01:46 p.m.

    I think this a decent idea because it allows families earning less then $125,000 to get a better education. It is also for in state students only, which I think will bring business to New York and make them look more attractive.

    • taylorm-kul
      4/20/2017 - 12:37 p.m.

      I agree that if people make less than it is a good idea. If people are living in New York they are already paying high living expenses.

    • sages-kul
      4/20/2017 - 12:37 p.m.

      I agree with Daniel because my parents don't make very much annually and i have to pay for my collage.

    • coltonw-kul
      4/21/2017 - 10:28 a.m.

      I think your right for the most part, but I don't it would bring more business to the state, but more of keeping more of the companies where they are with a few more workers.

    • brookeg-kul
      4/21/2017 - 11:37 a.m.

      I agree that it is a good idea for people that don’t make as much money and they can get a good education because of this.

    • dylann-kul
      4/21/2017 - 12:54 p.m.

      I agree with Daniel Braun. This allows students to actually go where they want to go instead of having to settle. I figure that a lot of people just choose a college based on price. This also allows people who cannot afford it at all to get a better education.

  • aleahs-kul
    4/18/2017 - 03:29 p.m.

    I can see why the state added the effect of how you have to stay in the state for four years, otherwise people would definitely take advantage of the opportunity for the money. That sounds like a ton of work to come up with this idea and figure out how it will work. I am assuming it has caused many problems. I am not sure if I would want this because I would want to leave the state probably. (79 words)

    • jennav-kul
      4/20/2017 - 11:59 a.m.

      I agree with you about them making you stay in the state. That is smart and it's a great way to create jobs in the state. I also agree with your point about it causing many problems. I think there's so many things to think about with this.

    • kayleeb-kul
      4/20/2017 - 12:10 p.m.

      Staying in the state for four years isn't a bad thing though as these people have grown up here and most want to stay. If you would want to leave, you just would. They will be here for four years of college, just as any other student would at any other given school.

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