NY State’s epic new Excelsior Scholarship, AKA “Tuition-Free” education.

Maybe I’m tired, but I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around this great announcement from our Governor.  How will CUNY and SUNY tuition be “free” after TAP and Pell is applied towards the cost of tuition?! Wouldn’t tuition-free imply -0- tuition for those whose household income is no more than $100,000 for 2017?  What am I missing?

Right now, in order to be eligible for TAP, a student must be charged “at least $200 a year in tuition”.  So, if tuition is FREE, students at SUNY and CUNY would not qualify for TAP.  They could qualify for Pell… and the students whose parents make a decent living, and will have a high EFC, would have NY State take care of their tuition, while their less economically advantageous counterparts, would use up their lifetime Pell eligibility?!  Again, please let me know if I am missing something…  How is this fair or good?  Whom does this really help?  How will the state be able to accommodate an influx of so many students?  The deadline for the Fall term admission to CUNY is February 1st, 2017, according to their website.  And don’t get me started on the realistic number of students who will benefit from Excelsior and ETA scholarships.  How many of the students in community colleges graduate on time?!  So while trying to reduce student debt, HESC will become a loan servicer again, in 2019 or sooner, if students start dropping out after receiving these “free” funds, or not completing 15 credits a semester with a 2.0 GPA.

Private colleges in New York have to reduce their tuition by at least $1,000 or up to $3,000 a year for students whose parents do not qualify for Pell and TAP.  That’s just crazy to me…   What about the impact on GE reporting?  Default prevention?

All the students who have been packaged for 2017-2018, will now have to be repackaged, most likely manually, one by one…  Has our governor thought about that? A lot of students at private community colleges are now considering waiting for CUNY or SUNY, and putting their education on hold.  How will that impact NY State?

What are your thoughts?  Disclaimer – everything written here does not represent my institution, and is my opinion only.  I am really confused and looking for guidance and the NY FA community’s opinions.

Thanks for reading.