“Although we are already a very affordable college, we know that some people may feel that they might not be able to go to college because they are concerned about the cost,” said Heidi Macpherson, President of SUNY Brockport.
That was issue for many educators and legislators in New York. But on Sunday, that all changed. A new scholarship is in place, making New York the only state in the US to provide students free tuition.
“The fact that the governor and the legislator has put this excelsior scholarship forward- it makes the fears go away and we’re so excited about the opportunity for these students,” said Macpherson.
To qualify, students have to live in New York and their families need to make less than $100,000 for 2017. The income cap will raise to $125,000 in 2019.
“We see this as an opportunity for students to be able to achieve their dream without going into massive amounts of debt,” she said.
This is good news for public universities, but this scholarship left some private colleges feeling a little burned.
“I’d be dishonest to say I’d be disappointed that the state didn’t recognize the role of private schools. We educate 400,000 students in this state, we contribute to the economic well being to this community,” said Daan Braveman, President of Nazareth College.
President Braveman says his university has been helping poor families for years through financial aid. When asked about possible low enrollment; however, he remains confident.
“Students will make decisions based on the kind of programs we offer, the quality of the programs, and I’m confident that Nazareth will do very well when they make that kind of judgment,” stated Braveman.
The scholarship program does not include room and board, food, and transportation – but it does cover books. And SUNY Brockport also tells us its too early to know if current students will qualify for the scholarship, but students that will be freshmen in Fall 2017 are included.