Everything free comes with a price.
From NY Post: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s much-heralded new program for free tuition at state colleges comes with a huge catch: You have to sign years of your life away to get it.
Under a provision that was added to the tuition bill at the last moment, students who get a free ride at CUNY and SUNY schools must live and work in New York state for up to four years after graduation, or be forced to pay the money back.
The amendment — which was not part of Cuomo’s original offer of free college for middle-class students — was added at the insistence of Republicans in the state Senate.
The GOP members worried that taxpayer-educated students would take their valuable knowledge and flee to other parts of the US, particularly from remote upstate communities.
“New York spends $1 billion on college financial assistance. There is a brain-drain problem,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif. “We have to get away from educating people and then having them move away. We want to create a climate for business and new jobs.”
Cuomo agreed with the change. “Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you pick up and you move to California?” Cuomo said during a call with state editorial writers.
“The concept of investing in you and your education is that you’re going to stay here and be an asset to the state. If you don’t want to stay here, then go to California now, let them pay for your college education.”
But one professor of higher education slammed the proposal as “economically and educationally foolish.”
“As someone who has worked on almost every free college bill, I promise@NYGovCuomo won’t be remembered well if he keeps this provision,” Temple University Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab tweeted. She noted that Tennessee offers free tuition at its community colleges “without this nonsense.”
Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship provides free in-state tuition for students from families with adjusted gross incomes of $125,000 or less. It is the first program of its kind in the country to fully subsidize tuition at both four-year and community colleges. Students must maintain a minimum grade-point average to qualify.
Cuomo is expected to tout the program at a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday at La Guardia Community College in Queens.
Lawmakers also approved a new tuition assistance program for students at private colleges that offers up to $3,000 in tuition grants. That assistance, too, comes with a requirement that a student remain in New York after graduation.
Students who receive free tuition and then leave the state for an advanced degree won’t have to pay the money back, assuming they return to New York once they complete their graduate studies. State officials also plan to make accommodations for graduates who leave the state for military service.