One thing is almost certain for most people attending universities in the United States, and that is that they will have serious debt to contend with after graduation. Of course, this is a huge motivator for graduates to join the workforce as soon as possible. However, the chances of a recent graduate finding a job paying well enough for them to significantly drop their debt is low. To combat this, New York has pushed a measure through that is intended to take some of the financial pressure off the student.
The measure makes New York the first state to offer middle-class students free college tuition. The scholarship will be called the Excelsior Scholarship, and will apply only to residents who attend a city or state of New York school. In order to qualify for a scholarship, the family of the student must earn less than $100,000, and this earnings cap will be increased up to $125,000 by 2019.
On average, tuition at a four year school will cost about $6,500 a year while at a community college it will cost around $4,350. Of course, those that receive the scholarship will not be required to pay the tuition fee. However, they will still be responsible for covering any other additional fees such as housing and other school fees.
Moreover, students will be required to take 30 credits, a full course load, in order to be eligible for the scholarship, and they must remain in the state after graduating for the amount of years that they received scholarship funds. If the graduate leaves, the scholarship becomes a loan that must be repaid. According to early estimates, it is thought that around 200,000 students will be able to qualify for the Excelsior Scholarships when it finally becomes available.
Regardless of the limitations, this is certainly a promising step in the right direction. Students should be able to pursue higher education without debating whether or not it is worth it financially.