New York Leads the Way with Cuomo’s New Proposal in the New Year

by Alexander Leon

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, announced his 1st Proposal 2017 State of the State shortly after the new year had begun . The Excelsior Scholarship proposed by Cuomo will provide free tuition for students attending New York state and city schools whose families earn under $125,000. It seems like someone is building up their résumé to take a shot at the presidency in 2020.

It’s no secret that the longer a student remains in college, the more debt he or she will accumulate. Financially, it makes the most sense for a high-school student to enroll full-time in a 4 year program to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Studies conducted by Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank, show that ever since the silent generation(individuals born between 1925 and 1945), the difference in median annual earnings between college and high school graduates has grown. This means that for over half a century, college graduates have consistently received larger incomes than their less educated peers.

The new proposal should not be viewed as a handout; instead it should be regarded as an investment, a hefty one I might add but one in which New Yorkers can reap the benefits from. Taxpayer money that is brought to the benefit of students will lead to a better educated workforce that will create more jobs in the long run. I think it’s important for us to understand that thinking in the long-term benefits the state along with the people around us whom eventually will thank us whether it be in our tax returns or merely by providing an influx of members from the Western-educated intelligentsia.

The plan would only make tuition free; students would continue to pay student fees and room and board as well as indirect costs including books, supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. For SUNY schools, tuition costs are $6,470 while the costs are $6,330 at CUNY schools.    

If the plan is passed by the New York legislature, then there will be more competition amongst the college applicants as students will be provided greater incentive to apply to SUNY and CUNY schools. In doing so, CUNY and SUNY colleges will be attracting a higher quality of students from across the state of New York, increasing their reputation, and thus attracting even better students while the cycle continues to run.

Tech Senior Tiffany Voon says, “…I think it’s great that the government is trying to make higher education more accessible.”

Senior Hiba Mouaddine says, “More students would have no debt and could actually finish college. I think it would be a good idea for people who can’t pay for college but I don’t know how he’d be able to make it possible…Where’s all that money going to come from?”

Senior Husna Ellis says, “I think that this is an important proposal. Ultimately, if NY passes this it would be a great first step to free higher education in the U.S. This type of system has been especially effective in Europe. We only benefit from a more educated society.”

I agree with Senator Bernie Sanders when he says, “What Governor Cuomo is proposing is a revolutionary idea for higher education. It’s an idea that’s going to reverberate not only throughout the State of New York, but throughout this country.” It’ll only be a matter of time, paired with minor confrontation between state officials, until access to higher education throughout the states is increased by making college more affordable.

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