August 10, 2018 Press Release

New Study Reveals Only 3.2% of NY College Students Receive “Free College” Cuomo Promised

Cuomo’s fake “Free College” program is all about the headlines, not fairness for students

New York, NY – After putting out taxpayer-funded ads and campaign ads for months touting his “Free College” program, a new study by the Center for an Urban Future reveals that just 3.2 percent of 633,543 undergraduates in New York State benefit from the Excelsior Scholarship Program.

The analysis also found that a whopping 68 percent of New Yorkers who applied for the Excelsior Scholarship were denied — a total of 43,513 out of 63,599 applications. The study also found that the Excelsior program’s heavy credit requirements — at least 30 credits in every year of enrollment — screened out the majority of Excelsior applicants who need it most.

“For Andrew Cuomo, it turns out that promising ‘free college’ for all is just another way to grab headlines. He attached so many barriers that his Excelsior Scholarship program only serves 3.2 percent of SUNY and CUNY students,” said Cynthia Nixon. “It’s false advertising for him to be running ads on the subway, on television, and online touting his fake free college program. When I am governor, we will have a real free College for All program.”

“This study reveals what students already know — college in New York State isn’t tuition-free,” said Corrinne Greene, a 21-year old rising senior at Brooklyn College. “I was overjoyed at the announcement of Excelsior, but because I took a semester off when I transferred from a private university I couldn’t afford, I don’t qualify. Like so many others, I’m left with a huge gap in financial aid, and panic around how to pay for school, books, and housing on top of my existing student loans. With rising tuition, crumbling campuses and poverty wages for adjuncts, SUNY and CUNY need real investment — and a governor who believes in education as a right, and not a publicity stunt.”

Cynthia’s College for All program will pay full tuition for students eligible for state TAP grants — in other words students whose families earn up to $80,000 — and then allow students to use their Pell grants to cover additional expenses like room and board.

The Center for an Urban Future is an independent think tank focused on helping low-income New Yorkers climb into the middle class.

The study can be viewed HERE.

Cynthia’s Educate NY plan can be viewed HERE.