college debt

SUNY Oswego / Facebook

After a week of criticism from the left and the right of the political spectrum, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget director is among those defending the state’s new free public college tuition program for some middle-class students.

Conservatives say Cuomo was just trying to win a headline for a potential 2020 presidential campaign by convincing the state Legislature to enact a plan to offer free tuition to middle-class students attending public colleges and universities.

Utica College

Some New York lawmakers and college administrators are worried about what the state's new free tuition policy at SUNY and CUNY could mean for private schools, including those at Utica College. The private college just cut its tuition rate by 42 percent last fall.

Office of Assemblyman Gary Finch

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to offer free college tuition at New York's SUNY and CUNY schools for families that make less than $125,000 has garnered a lot of attention, but not everyone is receptive to the idea.

Onondaga Community College / Facebook

Onondaga Community College is rolling out a program that will offer free tuition to students in two central New York school districts.

The OCC Advantage  is based on a similar program at Harper College near Chicago, according to OCC’s Amy Kremenek.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In the basement of Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego, there's a room where the shelves are not filled with books.

"We've got pastas, and we've got popcorn, Jell-O, beans, cereals, jelly -- a lot of jelly," said SUNY Oswego Student Government Association President Emily Nassir as she surveyed the recently created food pantry. Just a few months ago, this was an empty space. Now it's covered in a plethora of canned and boxed foods and toiletries. And there's even a mini clothing store and adjacent fitting room.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica College is welcoming its largest freshman class ever. The private school's officials say it's just one of the many benefits it's seeing from the "reset" of undergraduate tuition rates. It dropped from $35,000 a year to $20,000. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Senate Democrats are crisscrossing their states this week looking for support for proposed legislation that would help students saddled with college debt. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) asked students at Syracuse University Monday to lobby lawmakers to support the "In the Red Debt Free College" proposal.

Flanked by students in SU’s Eggers Hall, Schumer proclaimed that a college education in this day and age is a necessity, but is being priced as a luxury, breaking the bank for students and families across the state.