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New York’s ‘Free’ College Tuition Program is Unworkable

New York’s ‘Free’ College Tuition Program is Unworkable

Bureaucracy working at its finest

New York state recently passed legislation making it “free” to attend two and four-year state colleges. It’s so free, it’s estimated to cost New York state taxpayers a paltry $163 million per year.

Called a “last-dollar” plan, would-be participants must first apply for federal monies before turning to the state for assistance. This ‘free tuition’ only covers half the cost of attending school and doesn’t cover incidentals like books, fees, or housing. Oh, and participants must finish school on time.

Despite being touted as free, this thing comes with a ridiculous amount of strings attached, including a provision requiring scholarship recipients to remain and work in New York for years after completing their degree. Get an associate’s degree and you’ll only have to stay in New York two years post-college. Go for a bachelor’s and you’re stuck in New York for four years. Leave before your period of indentured servitude state-mandated New York time is up and the scholarship magically turns into a loan which must be paid back.

How the state of New York plans to expand their bureaucracy to monitor scholarship recipients for years after graduating has yet to be discussed. Maybe they’ll create something akin to parole officers, but for college grads, because that’s essentially how this scholarship is written.

Let’s just pretend Suzy score’s employment after finishing her degree. She’s doing well, two years later, the company opens an office in Maryland and decides to transfer Suzy. What does Suzy do? Take an opportunity to advance her career, that is after all, what she worked for during school, or be on the hook for four years of back tuition. Sure, Suzy could’ve just paid for college on her own, but the point is that legislation touted as helping a population previously unable to access afforable higher education puts them in more of a bind.

Nothing about this program is free, or practical, or even workable. But it is illustrative of bureaucracy working at its finest.

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The plan is only available to students whose parents’ household income is less than a little over 100,000$.

People will get divorced to take advantage of this plan.

    Want to bet that the income of both divorced parents is counted no matter what? Federal student aid used to be like that at one time. Had a roomie with divorced parents on opposite coasts who still had their income counted against his aid requests.

    gospace in reply to rotten. | April 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

    As my last kid prepares to enter college, if I refuse ALL OVERTIME next year, and volunteer for a lower paying shift, I’ll squeak in under the income limit.

    Makes me wonder why I bother trying to work hard to get ahead.

      Jackie in reply to gospace. | April 12, 2017 at 6:37 am

      They will find another reason to deny you. It’s all a scam. I remember open enrollment and that was free college. The Professors made normal salaries, not 350 g’s for teaching one class.

As long as I can get my degree in Renaissance Theology with a minor in Gender Studies for free – I can keep my job at Starbucks!

A full 20% of New York high school students do not graduate. Cuomo wants to add more control upon the citizens.

“Get an associate’s degree and you’ll only have to stay in New York two years post-college. Go for a bachelor’s and you’re stuck in New York for four years. Leave before your period of indentured servitude state-mandated New York time is up and the scholarship magically turns into a loan which must be paid back.”

A bit of a disincentive to attend graduate school if that graduate school is out of state.

Of course, how many people will take advantage of this not fully realizing they’ll be penalized for escaping from New York>

aloysius9999 | April 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Considering how far left New York State leans, bet they didn’t allow graduates to leave the state for military service while allowing Peace Corp type exemptions.

It’s not unworkable…they will just dip their ladle into their bottomless pit of money otherwise known as “Tax Payers”.

How can they prove you are not a resident of NY?

New York’s own tax code work’s against them because if a individual works more than 15 days in NY, they have to report all wages from that employer as New York wages.

So I take advantage of this program and then move out of state. How are they going to make me pay? Could I declare bankruptcy?

Walker Evans | April 11, 2017 at 4:14 pm

New York kids need to be mindful of a trio of ideas that have proven to be true:

1) Anything free is generally worth what you paid for it.
2) TANSTAAFL! (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!)
3) “Socialism only works until you run out of other peoples’ money!” — Margaret Thatcher

Anyone who thinks otherwise is living in an economic delusion!

Free college tuition program?

No, no, it’s a “I’m getting ready to run for re-election so I need to give out more free stuff” program!

Only a select few students and institutions will benefit, keeping with Cuomo’s philosophy of always using taxpayer dollars to help his friends. The multi-thousand page ‘budget’ (containing all kinds of laws buried within, multimillion dollar slush funds for Cuomo’s personal distribution and lots more pork) is dropped on legislators desks and they’re ‘forced’ to vote on it a few hours later. All business-as-usual in one of the most corrupt State Capitols in the country. Bah!

In answer to your “Suzy” question she could either say no to going to Maryland or get her new employers to pay back the loan.

The big thing with this proposal is the cost of running it (as you stated). The easier cheaper way to do it is for New York State offer a fixed grant to New York Residents who meet the income requirements. Pick a $$$ amount. The way to monitor them is if the graduating student files tax returns in New York (doesn’t that state have a state income tax program), if they don’t file for 2/4 years or leave school early the grant turns into a student loan.

Why not just work on lowing state tuition for instate students and calling it a day?

    Observer in reply to EBL. | April 11, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    If NY wasn’t forcing its taxpayers to subsidize illegal alien students by giving them in-state tuition rates, they’d be able to do that.

Pssst… hey mon, you wan some theengs? I got theengs, almost free. Come here I show you.

Thees watch is a real Rolex. Sure ting. My brother in law finds it in a parked truck. Almost free, mon.

You think this is dumb?
Rahm is thinking of a law that requires a graduating HS senior show that he is enrolled in college, an apprenticeship, or trade school before they get their HS diploma.

Of course, illegal aliens are excempt from the stipulations.

    artichoke in reply to Stan25. | April 12, 2017 at 9:04 am

    This is an important point and should be talked about, while this thing can still be stopped.

    On the other hand, can an illegal alien apply for a federal student aid (FAFSA)?

Wait until the dems run Oprah.

There are problems with any proposal like this one, but keeping track of who’s working where is not one of them. If he files taxes, the state knows all it needs to know about where the new grad is working, and no new bureaucracy is needed to do it.

While revitalization and market-based price controls do not share the emotional quotient of “free”, or its potential for graft and discrimination, it does assure a greater degree of affordable and available… education, medical services and products, homes, etc.

I just realized, if Cuomo is successful then he will severely damage graduate studies.

Rarely does a person go to the same grad school they went to as an undergrad, and very likely they move to a different state.

So, once you’re gotten a near-worthless liberal arts degree, will tending bar or waiting tables count towards serving your sentence?

I went to school on the “Cleetus Plan”. I worked two jobs as an undergraduate attending a small state school where the tuition was cheap and the cost of living even more cheap. After graduating with my degree in Chemistry, I discovered that no one goes to graduate school in that field and pays for it. With the requirement that so many freshmen take general chemistry, graduate students are given a tuition waiver along with a small stipend to babysit general chemistry laboratories. In fact, no one would even think of attending a graduate Chemistry program unless a teaching assistantship was offered.
What was most peculiar about all of this is that with chemists facing an unusually high 5% unemployment rate (historically it’s been closer to 2-3%), commanding a very substantial salary, and offered what amounts to free graduate school, there remains so few Chemistry majors. Being that it is an absolutely fascinating field of study that is applicable to so many areas of science and technology, you would think there wold be quite a few more. Even more amazing is finding female Chemistry majors is rare and minority Chemistry majors are like unicorns – they are so rare as to almost be mythical creatures. I guess some things simply cannot be explained.

    Ronbert in reply to Cleetus. | April 12, 2017 at 8:55 am

    You really need to tell everyone that a degree in chemistry is one of the most difficult to obtain. I’m an engineer and we avoided chem. courses with premeds, chem e’s, and chem majors.

    artichoke in reply to Cleetus. | April 12, 2017 at 9:13 am

    You have to start chemistry early. There are a ton of facts you just have to know. They aren’t especially difficult or abstract, just a lot of them.

    Then you can start doing chemistry. Then, rather than being impossible, it’s interesting.

    PhD’s in all sciences and most fields get free tuition and a TA or RA. Graduate study in science is generally for a PhD, which is sort of the requirement for a real professional job i.e. not a lab assistant. If you are not a good student, maybe you don’t get admitted to a doctoral program.

    Why do you wonder that so few followed your path? Because you’re someone who is cut out for it. Sadly, most aren’t and have some aspect of their abilities or personality against that. Work from there, in understanding society.

Won’t this plan, however the details work out, cause a big demand for admission to NY universities? This will have two results:

1. It will raise admission standards. A degree from SUNY Binghamton might be prestigious, or something.

2. It will protect the jobs of a lot of university faculty and administrators. Trump has mentioned (in the primaries) the idea of having private lenders partially underwrite student loans. So the engineering student in good standing is a great risk and will get a loan. The gender studies student, not so much. And the gender studies department, at risk of closure. I suspect this is a big reason Cuomo wants this, to protect all those snowflake departments in NY public universities.