Monday, January 9, 2017

Current Events: Cuomo Free Tuition Plan

For my first current events project I did a report on how Governor Cuomo plans to cover tuition costs for middle and low income students attending CUNY and SUNY schools.

See the full report and video below:

Cuomo Proposes Free Tuition at New York State Colleges for Eligible Students

Governor Andrew Mark Cuomo seized on a major issue that excited lots of younger Democrats during the “Race to the White House”.  On Tuesday he pledged to cover tuition costs at state colleges for 200,000 or more middle and low income New Yorkers.

The Governor’s plan says that all students who have been accepted to a state or city college — including 2-year community colleges — are eligible, if they or their family earns $125,000 or less annually.

Cuomo first publicized his proposal alongside Senator Bernie  Sanders at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Senator Sanders called the idea “revolutionary,” adding, “that is a message that is going to provide hope and optimism for working-class families all across the state.”

The governor’s plan will include 4 year schools, helping lots of campuses that are part of the state university system, as well as the city’s university system - a once-free network whose tuition has risen and reputation has fallen over the last decade.

The proposal said that the state would complete students’ tuition payments by supplementing existing state and federal grant programs - basically covering the balance, although administration officials said that some students could have their whole college education covered.

In his remarks, the governor argued that student debt was destroying the prospects of generations of young Americans. “It’s like starting a race with an anchor tied to your leg,” said Mr. Cuomo, adding that many students leave college $30,000 (sometimes more) in debt.

“This society should say, ‘We’re going to pay for college because you need college to be successful,’” the governor added. “And New York State — New York State is going to do something about it.”

Cuomo’s plan is to start off in the fall of 2017 with a $100,000 income limit, rising up to $125,000 by 2019. This 3 year plan is quicker than Hillary Clinton’s plan during her presidential campaign.  However, Cuomo’s plan will benefit far fewer students than multiple other federal proposals.

Original estimates from the administration said that the program would allow almost 1,000,000 college-age children and independent adults to qualify. According to Jim Malatras, the director of state operations, the real amount of students receiving tuition-free education will be about 200,000 when it is fully enacted in 2019.


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