- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently revealed plans to pursue free tuition models for state residents seeking enrollment at public colleges and universities, an initiative based on a proposal advanced by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
- Under Cuomo's proposal, all students from households making less than $125,000 annually would be eligible for funds to cover balances not paid by scholarships and federal aid. Officials say the program could likely help more than 200,000 students seeking enrollment in city and state colleges by 2019.
- Some estimates place the total amount of state funding for the program around $163 million over the next two years, based upon student enrollment.
Tennessee has shown that tuition support to community college students yields positive gains in enrollment, and completion; and about 10 other states, including Oregon, are seeking to duplicate the program at varying scales. While individual campuses are not able to set a funding agenda for entering students, they can make the case for legislative consideration through research, performance-based metrics and analysis of higher education on local and regional industry.
Colleges are designed to prove their value to surrounding communities through commerce, economic impact and civic service. When each of these areas is proven indispensable, money can find its way to the campus to ensure their longevity.