NY gov proposes free tuition at state's public colleges

New York Governor Cuomo proposes $10 billion renovation of JFK Airport
Today 3:08 pm New York Governor Cuomo proposes $10 billion renovation of JFK Airport Reuters By Hilary Russ
Author

05 January, 2017

New York's proposal, called the Excelsior Scholarship, would supplement existing state and federal grants and loans for hundreds of thousands of NY college students, allowing any member of a family earning less than $125,000 to attend a state four-year or community college for free. The plan, called the Excelsior Scholarship, was announced January 3; it is similar to Hillary Clinton's New College Compact and builds on proposals from Sen. Students will have to be enrolled full-time at a two- or four-year public college. Room and board would not be free.

"At a moment when college costs are rising, student debt is out of control and Americans are wary of what the future holds, NY state can reset the national agenda for college education by enacting a fully funded investment in free public college education for low- and middle-income students", PSC wrote in a statement.

In a brief and boisterous announcement in Queens yesterday morning, with progressive mascot Bernie Sanders at his side, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new plan to provide free state college tuition to any student whose family earns less than $125,000. Sanders, the United States once boasted the largest number of college graduates some thirty years ago.

Defending Cuomo's preference for rule by an unfunded decree followed by closed-door budget negotiations (and not legislation passed by elected officials), spokesman Richard Azzopardi told the Voice that when it came to the $163 million for college aid, "our proposal will be dealt with in the confines of the budget".

Sanders praised the plan as "revolutionary", saying students shouldn't be "punished" with tens of thousands of dollars in debt for seeking higher education.

"It's incredibly hard and getting harder to get a college education today".

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Cuomo's proposal, based on recommendations from a study panel, would transform the New York City airport by unifying its terminals, which are now disconnected.

Legislative leaders had no immediate comment on the plan.

Gov. Cuomo unveiled a $10 billion plan to revamp JFK Airport on Wednesday that calls for inter-connected terminals, more flights, major road improvements and upgraded security that includes facial recognition technology.

"We are excited to see what awaits in the years ahead - not only for us, but for the tens of millions of global air travellers for whom JFK is the first stop - and their first impression - of NY and the rest of the country". The average annual tuition for a bachelor's degree at a SUNY and CUNY school ranges from $6,330-$6,470, and tuition for an associate's degree is between $4,350-$4,800.

AirTrain service could be doubled from two to four cars per train under one option being considered.

Yet while free college makes an easy-to-grasp political soundbite, the details of putting together such a program are far more complex.


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