Press Release

In response to Governor Cuomo’s announcement today of his plan to offer free tuition at SUNY and CUNY 2- and 4-year colleges to eligible New Yorkers, The Education Trust–New York issued the following statement from Executive Director Ian Rosenblum:

“Governor Cuomo’s plan to make public colleges and universities affordable for all New Yorkers and focus on improving completion can be an historic opportunity to advance student success and dramatically increase on-time graduation rates – particularly for low-income students and students of color. As additional details become available during the budget process, we look forward to being able to evaluate the plan based on how low-income students, students of color and non-traditional students would benefit, and especially how the plan ensures that these groups of students will receive the financial, academic and other support they need for success in college and beyond.”

Below are some of the questions The Education Trust–New York will use as benchmarks to evaluate the proposal:

  1. How do low-income students – who may already be eligible for federal Pell grants and state TAP grants – benefit from the program, and are the resources adequate to cover costs such as fees, transportation, child care and books that too often make college out of reach?
  2. If the plan is intended to encourage full-time enrollment (which could be beneficial since research shows better outcomes for full-time students), how will it support the college dreams of non-traditional students – specifically those who attend college part-time because they cannot afford to give up their job – as well as undocumented students?
  3. How does the plan hold institutions accountable for improving student success through on-time graduation rates, particularly for the groups of students who are currently furthest behind?
  4. If the plan has the effect of concentrating even more low-income students in the institutions with the least resources or with the least student success, how will the state ensure equitable per-student support for the institutions that serve students with the greatest needs?