New York adopts Bernie Sanders' free college platform
New York adopts Bernie Sanders' free college platform

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is advocating for a Bernie Sanders style free college tuition plan. As announced Tuesday, all New Yorkers with a combined family income of $125,000 or less will be eligible. 

The plan, dubbed the “Excelsior College Program,” would cover 2- and 4-year degrees at any of New York’s 64 public campuses. 

“It is going to be the first program like it in the United States of America. It’s once again New York leading the way,” said Cuomo Tuesday as he spoke alongside Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens. 

Cuomo, who endorsed Hillary Clinton during the primaries, argues that today’s graduates are crippled by student debt. “It’s like starting a race with an anchor tied to your leg.”

Sanders, who pushed for free tuition and other socialist policies during his presidential run, calls the Excelsior program “revolutionary.” 

“The day will come where we understand that public education in America is not simply kindergarten through high school, but that public education in 2017 means making public colleges and public universities tuition-free,” said Sanders.

Cuomo’s farcical proposal aims to cover tuition payments by filling in the gaps left by existing state and federal programs. 

“New York already offers in-state students one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation,” reports the NY Times. “Current full-time tuition at 4-year State University of New York schools for residents is $6,470; at 2-year community colleges the cost is $4,350… The state also provides nearly $1 billion in support through its tuition assistance program, which has an adjusted gross income limit of just under $100,000.”

New York’s fiscal year begins on April 1st. Governor Cuomo has until January 17th to submit his budget proposal. He expects the Excelsior program to cost $163 million per year, but actual costs are likely to be far higher. 

NY State Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma) admits the idea has potential, but stresses the fact that “we must make sure the governor’s proposal is affordable.” 

“I’m all for free college tuition, just like I'm all for free puppies and apple pie,” said NY State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda). “I have serious concerns when sweeping statements such as ‘free college for all’ are made without fully considering what that will mean for our state, our taxpayers, and our institutions of higher learning.” 

Ortt is right to question Cuomo’s unbelievably costly proposal. With about 1.2 million students enrolled and an average annual tuition of just over $17,000, this is a $20.5 billion per year price tag. New York currently brings in about $95 billion in state revenues.

On top of that, the Excelsior program threatens to degrade the quality of educaiton at current institutions by overwhelming teachers with students and pushing the best professors to private schools.

Editor's note: Once again a Democrat promises the unattainable, that all education will be free, while ignoring the systemic issues that cause the prices to be so high in the first place. This is ludicrous. This is a socialist move, and socialism does not work. Partially socialist solutions always cost a great deal more and then collapse under their own weight.


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