As you may have seen in the news the last few days, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan to make college tuition at New York’s public schools free for students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned for president on platforms of free higher education and stemming graduate debt, was on hand for the unveiling of the idea.
You can read about it in the New York Times.
This sparks no small debate. As the Washington Post reported, the plan will not help the neediest students, who go to school for free anyway, thanks largely to the already-cheap tuition and grants.
This debate underlies many of the deep issues surrounding higher education. Primarily, this is a case of who gets to go to college and how much. Are underserved and underprivileged students truly being served by plans toward “free tuition?” If, as the Post suggests, those who benefit under the program will be students whose families may be more privileged, is it fair to make tuition free for them, as well?
This is a case to watch as 2017 unfolds, especially as Tennessee and Oregon have programs already in place to make community college free. Sanders himself says, “If New York State does it this year, mark my words, state after state will follow.”
Everyone, including private schools, is watching closely. What do you think? Comment below.
By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed