A college education is something highly sought after, even with the spike in tuition cost over the years. Having a degree is necessary in this day and age when it comes to finding a job.

The typical SUNY expense for living on campus is about $20,650, and $11,920 to live off campus. Many believe college should be available to everyone, even those who can’t afford it. Recently, Governor Cuomo has proposed a plan to help prospective students receive an education. His plan is intended to make New York state schools tuition free to eligible students. Students who fit certain criteria whose family’s income is below $125,000 who are not already getting aid would have their tuition paid for.

This plan is important not only because it pays tuition for people who can’t afford it but because it will also cut down student debt. Most, if not all college students graduate with at least $30,100 per borrower. In New York, the average debt is $29,320 with about 59 percent of students owing around that amount or more depending on the university they attended. On this campus specifically, the plan can increase the number of students enrolling and attending.

“It will help families reduce the amount of debt they get from college,” Director of Student Financial Services Todd A. Moravec . “Around 1,900 students on this campus would meet the eligibility criteria, but half of them already have tuition covered through TAP and Pell grants.”

That leaves the students who don’t get the same financial help, in which case, this plan would benefit them greatly because it pays for their tuition compared to taking out student or parent loans to cover the cost.

State officials estimate around 940,000 students will take advantage of the plan. The estimated cost for it would be about 163 million. While the cost is high, the benefits are greater for people who struggle with the cost of attending college.

“It will become less of a burden to middle class families,” said Counselor at EOP Cassie Christman. She thinks that Cuomo’s proposal would help the students whose family makes too much to receive Pell or TAP grants. When tuition is no longer a barrier, more students can truly consider college as an option that they might not have considered before.

“I believe it’s a good plan to shut down some of the financial barriers students face but maybe in the future it can be expanded to cover a wider range of people and needs,” PSUC biology major Adedolapo Oyeleye said. “Students can focus on more important things, such as grades not their tuition bill.”

She believes the proposal will take stress off students who are worrying about paying tuition and how it’s also constructive to prospective students.

“ I feel like this plan is a really good use of government money,” said PSUC biology major Kernan Theodore. “So much money is wasted on unimportant things whereas this plan is beneficial to kids planning on going to college.”

“Tuition is expensive and it’s rare for families to come up with all the money, especially if there is more than one student in the household, it’s really going to help some people.” said PSUC history major Emani McDowell.

The ambitious plan has yet to be proposed to legislature but if it is passed, it will take around three years to become completely active. It will cover tuition on two year colleges, as well as four year ones.

Email Whitney Leonardo at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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