Dear Manhattan College Alumni,
As you may know, the Governor of New York has made a proposal to offer “free tuition” for qualifying students with a household income of $100,000 or less, rising to $125,000 by 2019. Known as the Excelsior Scholarship, the proposal would cover tuition costs for eligible students who enroll in a state (SUNY) or city (CUNY) college or university.
While we applaud all efforts to assure that students from across the economic spectrum will have access to the best possible higher education experience, we believe that the unintended consequences of the Governor’s Excelsior plan will actually harm the very students it seeks to help.
It is doubtful that the public system could accommodate the influx of students that could result from the plan—at least not without huge increases in SUNY and CUNY budgets or significant stresses on educational quality. At the same time, experts warn that the promise of the plan could entice students who would be better served at private colleges away from those options, potentially undermining institutions that depend on enrollment to maintain quality.
New York has long fostered a partnership between its public and private institutions, recognizing that students benefit from the rich array of choice that our colleges and universities provide. New York’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities do an excellent job educating a wide variety of students and preparing them for life after graduation.
At Manhattan College, for example, one third of our students, year after year, are “first-generation” college students, many of them coming from families who depend on federal and state support to realize their dream of a better future for their children. We believe that increasing support for all families with financial need is the best way to achieve the result that we all desire: providing access, supporting quality education, and broadening the pathway to success for all New Yorkers.
Now is the time for those who value the work of New York’s private colleges and universities to have their voices heard. For more information, and for assistance in writing to your elected officials, please visit https://www.limitlesslearningny.org. We need as many people as possible to urge the legislature to vote against the Excelsior plan and to develop a plan that supports all of New York’s college students, whether they choose a public or a private institution.
Thank you for your assistance in this important matter.
Brennan O’Donnell, Ph.D.
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[JR: I disagree with any Gooferment involvement in “education”. This is just another fiscal disaster.]
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