The State of New York became the first to propose free tuition at public four-year universities (SUNY and CUNY campuses) for families making less than $100,000. The proposal is estimated to cover 82% of New York residents.
While some states offer free community college education to residents falling below certain income levels, New York’s proposal is unique for including public four-year colleges. Other states like California are considering similar proposals for the CSU system.
This proposal is recognition that student debt is crippling, and, for many, seemingly insurmountable. Whether this proposal applies to you or not, it is critical to view a college education as an investment. Maximize outside scholarships and negotiate for need-based and merit-based financial aid after your child has been accepted. Do whatever it takes to reduce the debt load associated with going to college. It is also critical to understand the career prospects with the major your child wishes to pursue and whether grad school is necessary for any long-term career goals.
We want our children to thrive, and student debt has proven to be the biggest obstacle for millennials to overcome. As college counselors, we focus on the value of a college education when discussing which schools and programs to apply to. This conversation includes the cost and potential return on the investment associated with each school and major. As you plan for the future, make sure that this is part of your family’s college planning discussions.