Dr. Karen A. Stout responds to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement regarding free tuition to New York public two-year and four-year colleges to help lower-income students achieve their dreams.
We are very pleased to see the commitment made today by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to providing a pathway for the state’s residents to have the opportunity to realize their dream of a college education. The Excelsior Scholarship program has the potential to enable nearly one million people to earn college credentials. Research confirms that financial roadblocks for community college students, in particular, are real and they are intense. This program will help to eliminate those roadblocks. We are working with hundreds of community colleges, including 19 in New York, to redefine the college completion agenda. It must be done in tandem with creating a new access agenda, such as the free tuition programs. Closing the completion gap and crafting an affordable pathway to a bachelor’s degree, or another credential of labor market value, is a critical social and economic imperative for New York, and for all states across America.