"Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 'Excelsior Scholarship' program aims to make more residents eligible for a tuition-free college degree at the state’s public two-year and four-year schools. But higher education experts, faculty and student leaders statewide, and State University of New York officials — while endorsing the governor’s cornerstone proposal as a dramatic step in reducing students’ cost burden — stop short of calling it free public college, as it was framed last month when Cuomo announced it at LaGuardia Community College with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at his side," Newsday reports.
"The Excelsior Scholarship is designed as a 'last-dollar' approach to paying tuition at the 64 campuses in SUNY and the 20 undergraduate colleges in the CUNY systems.
Students would use the money from the governor’s plan to pay for the remainder of tuition — or 'last-dollar' — after exhausting all other forms of state and federal financial aid, such as money from the state’s Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP, and the federal Pell Grant program. ...
Among the issues since Cuomo announced the program have been questions about how many students would be eligible for it and its underlying mechanics. The governor this month started a tour of campuses to tout the plan; he did not take questions from reporters at stops at SUNY Buffalo State and Binghamton University.
More than 600,000 students are enrolled in SUNY colleges and universities, including Stony Brook University, Farmingdale State College and SUNY Old Westbury on the Island. About one-third of SUNY students attend part-time, making them ineligible for the Excelsior Scholarship, although some college presidents and experts said the tuition assistance could be an incentive for them to enroll full-time, which has been shown to boost completion rates."
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Publication Date: 2/22/2017