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New York first state to offer free public four-year college tuition: Who wins?

It looks like something off of Senator Bernie Sander’s campaign wish list and New York state made it come true. According to NBC News, New York becomes the only state in America to offer universal public college tuition coverage for working- and middle-class residents this fall for students whose families make less than $100,000. Should other states follow the Empire state’s lead?


Like most things proposed in New York state by its governor, the college education financial plan is high on idealism and low on addressing the needs of the very poor according to New York Assemblyman Victor M. Pichardo from the Bronx or even the working adult poor.

Assemblyman Pichardo stresses, that while the new The Excelsior Scholarship would award the same tuition assistance to students from families making $99,000 a year, students from impoverished families face, “a different reality,” reports NBC News.  Affording room and board as well as school supplies can often be a deal breaker for students from poor families.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is more than a little enthusiastic about how New York differs from what other states offer college bound students.  He explains that the Excelsior Scholarship is broader in its coverage and stated, “New York has the nation’s first accessible college program. It’s a different model.”

There is some truth to the governor’s statement concerning the state’s new bill.  In the case of California and Georgia, both states have established a comprehensive grant and scholarship programs for four-year college as well.  Yet the state of New York America’s, “only truly universal program — with no requirements other than residency and income, and no caps on the number of residents who can receive full tuition,” reported NBC News.

In addition, according to U.S. News, in 2014 there are some states that have schools which offer free tuition based upon several conditions.  Those schools include “Alice Lloyd College, Berea College, College of the Ozarks, Curtis Institute of Music, Deep Springs College, Webb Institute, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy.”

The new public tuition free scholarship is estimated to assist approximately 940,000 New Yorkers by the year 2019.  The one stipulation which might prove a problem for some students, is the requirement that they live and work in New York for the same number of year that they receive the scholarship.

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