Recently, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a New York State free tuition program called the Excelsior Scholarship.
Most are aware of the historic student loan debt levels that college graduates now face. The costs of attending college have increased in dramatic fashion and most household incomes have not been able to keep up.
Unfortunately, student loan debt has been normalized. Those who graduate debt-free are outliers.
In an order to combat student loan debt, New York State now offers its residents the ability to attend one of their public colleges/universities tuition-free.
Well, kind of. It is paid by taxes. But this post is not about that side of the initiative.
So how does this program work? If you are a resident of New York (or a resident of one of the other 49 states and just curious about the program), here is what you need to know:
- The program is for the City University of New York and the State University of New York systems. This includes 2-year and 4-year colleges.
- You must be a resident of New York and be from a family that makes less than $100,000. This will increase to $125,000 by 2019.
- Whether at a 2-year or 4-year college, you must be a full-time student.
- While tuition is covered, you still must pay any fees and room and board. Unfortunately, these costs are pretty high in New York schools.
- After graduation, you must stay in New York State for the same number of years you received the funding.
- If you leave the state prior to the number of years you received funding, you must pay the state back. More than likely, this means that the amount you received will turn into a loan.
What if you can’t find a job in New York? It’s a question many are asking. The financial ramifications for leaving the state prior to the number of years funding was received is significant.
Other states are making attempts at reducing the costs of higher education, like Tennessee.
Whether you are considering college for yourself or your children, it is important to stay informed about your state’s programs.
Of course, we do not know how long these programs will last. There could be more programs. Or there could be less programs.
God has designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows. Debt is a generosity killer. One way to avoid debts, like student loans, is to save.
So whether you live in New York, Tennessee, or any other state, save some money for college. I recommend considering a 529 Plan. Because having too much saved it always better than having too little saved.