College For Free? New York Offers Free College Tuition

One issue that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is our nation’s student loan crisis, which impacts over 40 million borrowers who are holding over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

During the 2016 election, the presidential nominees proposed several solutions to help tackle student loan debt:

  1. Donald Trump: President-elect Trump has offered a student loan debt repayment plan that allows borrowers to cap their monthly student loan payments based on their income and then have their student loans forgiven after a certain period of time. Among other proposals, Trump has also called for universities with large endowments to spend more of their endowment funds on students for tuition, housing and other costs – or the universities would potentially lose their tax exempt status.
  2. Hillary Clinton: Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton proposed a free college tuition plan as well as a student loan repayment and student loan forgiveness plan. Among other proposals, Clinton also called for student loan refinancing for 25 million Americans and a three-month moratorium on all federal student loan payments.

Now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered his take on student loan debt relief: free college tuition.

Today, with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at La Guardia Community College in New York, Cuomo, a Democrat, announced a proposal to offer free tuition at all of New York’s public colleges.

The Plan.  The plan, which requires approval by the state legislature, would provide free tuition to residents whose families earn less than $125,000 per year to any of New York’s state universities (State University of New York or SUNY), city colleges (City University of New York or CUNY) or community colleges. The tuition would be provided through the Excelsior Scholarship and supplement existing state and federal loans and grants. Under the existing New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), eligible New York residents can receive up to $5,165 toward tuition.

“A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down,” Cuomo said in a statement.

If approved by the state legislature, New York would be the first state to offer free tuition at all its public colleges and universities. Cuomo wants to implement the plan starting this fall with a three year, gradual roll-out. The income threshold would be $100,000 in 2018, $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

Tuition Cost.  New York has the largest public university system in the country, with 440,000 students across 64 campuses. According to the State University of New York, tuition for state residents is $6,470 for the current academic year. Tuition for the current academic year for residents at City University of New York schools and community colleges is $6,330 and $4,800, respectively.

Plan Cost. Cuomo, a potential presidential candidate in 2020, estimates that the program could help 940,000 families and individuals. Once fully implemented, Cuomo estimates the program could cost $163 million, although more details on how to fund the program are needed, including if it will be funded by taxpayers through new taxes or be funded from existing state resources. New York spends about $10.6 billion per year on higher education.

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Best Student Loan Refinancing For 2018

Lender
Rates (APR)
Minimum Credit Score

Overview

Variable Rates:2.57% - 5.87%
Fixed Rates:3.25% - 6.32%
Average Savings:$21,810
Minimum Credit Score:None
Minimum Income:None
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$45,000
Loan Terms:5-20 years
Borrower Residency:All States except AL, KY, MS, VT
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes
2.56% - 7.40%
Good or Excellent

Overview

Variable Rates:2.56% - 7.40%
Fixed Rates:3.25% - 7.13%
Average Savings:$15,767
Minimum Credit Score:Good or Excellent
Minimum Income:None
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private or Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.58% - 7.96%
Fixed Rates:3.15% - 8.12%
Average Savings:$15,270
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:$24,000
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All states, except ME, ND, NV, RI, WV
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.69% - 6.01%
Fixed Rates:3.09% - 6.69%
Average Savings:N/A
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:$35,000
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$15,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All States
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes
1.95% - 3.95%
Excellent

Overview

Variable Rates:-
Fixed Rates:1.95% - 3.95%
Average Savings:-
Minimum Credit Score:Excellent
Minimum Income:-
Fees:-

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$40,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15 years
Borrower Residency:Only for the residents of New York City, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland (Oregon), Boston, Palm Beach (Florida) or Greenwich
Unemployment Protection:-
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.75% - 7.25%
Fixed Rates:3.25% - 7.75%
Average Savings:N/A
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:$75,000
Fees:-

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5 - 15
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:-
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:2.80% - 5.90%
Fixed Rates:3.37% - 7.02%
Average Savings:$20,200
Minimum Credit Score:680
Minimum Income:None
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$5,000
Loan Terms:5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:Yes
Co-signer Option:Yes

Overview

Variable Rates:3.48% - 7.26%
Fixed Rates:3.50% - 7.28%
Average Savings:$20,221
Minimum Credit Score:700 (670 with a co-signer)
Minimum Income:$42,000 solo or combined with spouse; $25,000 with a co-signer
Fees:None

Details

Eligible Loans:Private & Federal
Minimum Loan Amount:$7,500
Loan Terms:5, 8, 12, 15 years
Borrower Residency:All states
Unemployment Protection:Case by case
Co-signer Option:Yes

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