How might SUNY's free tuition affect SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego?

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - The New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have agreed on the requirements for free college tuition to any SUNY or CUNY school for middle class students.

New York State calls it the "Excelsior Scholarship."

  1. Income Cap: The student's family can make no more than $100,000 in combined income when the program starts in 2017. The cap increases to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,00 for 2019 and following years.
  2. State Residency: Students must live in New York State.
  3. Full-Time Student: Students must be enrolled in a SUNY or CUNY school taking 30 credits a year.
  4. Room and Board: Students still need to pay for room and board.
  5. Live and Work in New York: After graduation, students must commit to living and working in New York State for the same number of years that they received tuition.

While there's no age limit, people who already have a bachelor's degree are disqualified. People with an associate's degree can't get another associate's degree, but can go for two additional years to earn a bachelor's degree.

Students who enroll for fall classes this year will start to take advantage, but SUNY schools across Central New York are still not sure how the "Excelsior Scholarship" will affect them.

Statement from SUNY Cortland:

"Right now, we are waiting to learn more about the proposal that actually passed and then we'll be analyzing the details to see what it will mean for our students. 
In general, however, we are very pleased that the Governor's plan will apparently become reality. SUNY Cortland takes pride in its tradition of being an institution of access, a place where students from all economic backgrounds have an opportunity to receive a top-quality education, regardless of their financial means. In the big picture, anything that makes it more affordable to attend SUNY Cortland is welcomed by us. 
Currently, SUNY Cortland's enrollment is strong. Last year, we received roughly 11,000 applications for about 1,100 undergraduate, first-year openings. If the Excelsior program increases the number of applications, we might have to become more selective in the near term, but it is too early to tell."
Statement from SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley:

"We applaud Governor Cuomo and the Legislature on a budget agreement that helps make college more affordable to a greater number of New York students and families,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley.  “The Excelsior Scholarship expands access to many more deserving students and the five-year tuition plan approved today ensures college costs are predictable and transparent for all SUNY students and their families.”

“SUNY Oswego has a long-standing commitment to higher education access, college completion and cost predictability (e.g., Oswego Guarantee) and we look forward to further expanding our support of students and their families as a result of this budget agreement.”

In response to NewsChannel 9's question about enrollment: "Given SUNY Oswego is predominantly a residential campus with strong enrollment and residence halls at capacity, we don't anticipate a surge in enrollment on our campus."

SUNY ESF and Onondaga Community College are both still waiting to hear how the scholarship will affect their campuses.


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