Tuition-Free NY would account for about 1% of New York State’s entire budget. An investment of 1% would provide free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students every year. It would offer them future opportunities, increase post-graduate purchasing power and keep them in the state for at least five years — per the legislation — to contribute to our local and state economy. It would provide revenue to New York in the process, all of which contributes toward paying down that already-modest 1% upfront investment.
Tuition-Free NY and programs like it will pay for itself by keeping bright, young minds in-state, maintaining a highly educated workforce and encouraging community service."
If Georgia can do it for high school grads, why can’t NY?
Just to clarify: Georgia does not do this. I was among the last group of Georgia high school grads that got free tuition for maintaining a B average. After that, because the state was unwilling to expand the revenue pool for the HOPE scholarship beyond the state lottery or eliminate high-income students from eligibility, the benefit was changed from “free tuition” into this confusing mess.
Basically, you get a certain amount per credit-hour you take each semester. At UGA, where tuition is $5,418 per semester, the most you can get covered is $3,390, a little under two thirds of the cost — and that’s for a 15-hour courseload, so god help you if you have to rely on your own income for things like housing and food. A typical full-time student with a 12-hour courseload gets only half of their tuition covered.
This is important to me because I went to college in-state specifically because of HOPE. I was accepted to a number of cool out-of-state institutions, but my parents were not offering me any help and I had no savings. With my tuition covered at UGA, I was just barely able to cover my own living expenses with part-time income and modest loans.
With the system set up as it is today, I would probably not have been able to go to college after graduating high school. I would have had to stay with my parents, enter the workforce, and just pray I managed to save up enough cash for higher education. (Lord knows that’s a super easy proposition for someone without a degree.) Alternatively, I could have enlisted in the military. In 2003. That would be sure to end well, what with Iraq and Afghanistan and a congress whose lipservice support for the troops does not extend to frivolous luxuries like ‘health care.’
My point is that free tuition is an UNBELIEVABLY HUGE DEAL for smart kids from poor families. It is not an exaggeration to say that it changed the course of my life. Support measures like this one, and keep them funded.
Ugh, “unwilling to eliminate high-income students from eligibility” says so much about this country right there.
I was lucky enough to get parental support on top of my loans, which I’m still paying off (with a lot left) in my 30’s…