Free Tuition In New York!!

Free Tuition In New York!!

What does that really mean?
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On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to give free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students statewide at State University of New York and City University of New York colleges. Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, stood alongside Cuomo during the announcement. Also, the scholarship received tentative support from state senate Republican leaders. The plan was not explained during the announcement, but this is what we know so far..

How much will it cost? The governor's office estimates the scholarship will cost the state $163 million to cover tuition costs for SUNY and CUNY students.

Where will the money come from? It's not yet entirely clear, but an existing state-funded tuition subsidy of nearly $1 billion is already given to students statewide through the Tuition Assistance Program. The plan as proposed would draw from additional state funds to cover the remaining costs for incoming or existing eligible students, according to the governor's office.

Does the announcement mean free college? No, there are other significant costs associated with attending SUNY or CUNY schools besides tuition. SUNY students receiving current in-state tuition for SUNY students getting a bachelor's degree is $6,470, room and board is $12,590, and student fees are $1,590, for example. At CUNY, current in-state tuition for students getting their bachelor's degree is $6,330, and residence costs are $20,295 for students who live away from home. Students getting their associate's degrees pay $4,350 in tuition at SUNY schools.

When would it go into effect? As early as the upcoming fall semester, if it passes.

Who is eligible? The scholarship will be awarded based on a family's income. If passed, it would be phased in to include more and more families over three years. In the first year, households making up to $100,000 would qualify. That would increase to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019, according to Cuomo's office. According to statistics from Cuomo's office, an estimated 940,000 households statewide make less than $125,000 a year and have college-aged children. The governor's office estimates that 210,000 students would take advantage of the scholarship.

Can existing students take advantage of this? A news release said state funds would cover costs for both incoming and existing eligible students.

In addition to income criteria, do you still have to qualify academically? Liapis said academic requirements, if there are any, have not been described. Students are, however, eligible for TAP benefits the moment they are accepted to SUNY or CUNY schools.

Would it apply to the state's community colleges? Yes, Liapis said.

What impact will this have on private colleges? It remains to be seen, but presidents of two Western New York private university presidents told Buffalo Business First they are worried about losing students to schools that offer free tuition.

Can students get the scholarship if they attend part-time? No, the program requires students be enrolled full time toward receiving a two-year and four-year degree. Cuomo's office said this requirement is a way to encourage students to finish their degrees quickly and avoid debt. Liapis said it's too soon to say whether students could continue to receive the tuition if they attend university full-time but take longer than two years to complete two-year degrees or four years to complete four-year degrees.

What's the next step? The scholarship proposal will have to be introduced as a bill, approved by both houses of the state legislature and accounted for in the state budget passed by April first. If the bill passes, the legislature and Cuomo signs it, it becomes law.'

This is the right direction for providing education for ALL. No matter what problems free tuition comes with, no student should be deprived the opportunity of an education or live in debt because of it.

For more information, visit: http://www.newyorkupstate.com/news/2017/01/cuomos_...

Cover Image Credit: TXWES

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.

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Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.

Love,

Me

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