Jim Malatras, President, Rockefeller Institute of Government says that New York’s recent offer of free tuition for state residents is a game changer for making higher education accessible to all.
In today’s world, the lack of economic means shouldn’t stifle educational opportunity. Yet, for many, no matter the intellectual capacity, there remain financial barriers to a college education.
Completing a higher education credential—be it an advanced graduate degree, bachelor’s degree or training certificate—is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. More well-paying jobs require an advanced college degree than in the past; indeed, a college degree is the key to economic mobility.
In the United States, like in many countries across the globe, access to a college education was once an exclusive benefit of the economic and social elite. Today, because of investments in strong public systems of higher education, college has become more inclusive for all. And yet, in the United States and other industrialized nations, there is plenty of more work to be done.
The recent GEM report paper, “Six ways to ensure higher education leaves no one behind” serves an important blueprint for states and nations to increase higher education access for all. The State of New York is putting the theory in this paper into practice, providing access to higher education regardless of socio-economic status by offering low tuition and generous need-based financial support.
Tuition at four-year schools in the two public university systems, the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY), costs about $6,400 a year, which is significantly less than other public systems such as the University at Massachusetts system ($14,596), and the Pennsylvania State University system ($17,900). When compared to average private school tuition ($34,000), New York’s system of public education is already a bargain. Continue reading