Friday, January 6, 2017
Peace and every good.
Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo called for free tuition at New York’s public colleges for students whose families earn less than $125,000. Students would receive an Excelsior Scholarship in addition to their Pell and TAP grants.
While I am pleased to see college affordability prioritized, the additional tuition assistance should be extended to all of New York’s college students, regardless of whether they attend a public or private institution. This has always been the case for our state’s major financial aid programs. Allowing students to choose a college based on where they will excel—and not solely on free tuition—is the right thing to do.
It would also make a bigger impact. The median income for families of Siena students is $100,600, which is below the proposed income limit. These students graduate in four years at a higher rate than their SUNY counterparts (74% vs. 50%). They earn higher salaries after graduation ($54,200 vs. $43,606). They are less likely to default on their student loans (1.7% vs. 9.7% default rate). And more than 63 percent stay in New York after earning their degree.
Simply put, Siena students—and their counterparts at other private colleges—are a smart investment for New York State.
Br. Ed Coughlin, O.F.M.
President, Siena College