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Will free college offer catch fire? NY details raise doubts

Posted at 10:34 AM, Apr 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-16 10:34:49-04

ALBANY, N.Y. — Some higher education experts question whether New York’s first-in-the nation free college tuition plan should be a model for other states.

They say the plan, which covers tuition at public colleges for students whose families earn $125,000 or less, offers the least assistance to the neediest students, whose tuition is already covered by other aid.

There are also concerns that it doesn’t pay for costs beyond tuition, such as room and board, which can account for about two-thirds of the total state tuition bill.

The new measure, called the Excelsior Scholarship, means that at CUNY’s four-year and community colleges, the overall cost will drop from the $16,000 to $20,000 range to a range of about $10,000 to $20,000 per year.

And there has already been much debate about a requirement that graduates stay in the state for as many years as they received the benefit.

Free college proponent Bernie Sanders says that despite such concerns New York deserves credit for leading the way on the issue.

PIX11 News contributed to this report.