‘Free’ College In New York!

New Yorkers are about to discover how expensive ‘free’ can be.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton were all smiles last week as they signed a bill into law that awards free tuition to students who attend the Empire State’s public universities. At the signing ceremony, held at LaGuardia Community College, Cuomo thanked Clinton for the great idea, noting she first mentioned it on the campaign trail last year.

“That will make this place a better place and this scholarship program is going to transform lives,” the governor predicted.


Low income students already get grants that cover tuition. This new benefit applies to families making between $50,000 and $100,000. Those making less than $50,000 were already eligible through Pell Grants and so forth. This is welfare for the middle class.

Those making more than $100,000 don’t qualify. There is no sliding scale. If your household brings in $99,999.99 you get free college. Make two cents more and you get nothing. That is a huge disincentive to work.

Of course nothing is free. The professors and administrators won’t be taking a pay cut. This will be paid with tax dollars. That means that a lot of hard-working blue collar, Trump supporting types who never went to college will now be paying the tuition of progressives who hate their guts.

What happens to private colleges? They now have competitors who get funded by their tax dollars. It’s tough to compete with ‘free’. Many who could and would have paid will opt to go on the government tuition dole.

An iron clad law of economics is that free goods are overused goods. How will they ration ‘free’ tuition? Who gets to go and who gets rejected? If there is no rationing, one of two things must happen: 1) costs will necessarily skyrocket beyond any control, or 2) the quality of education will plummet.

Students and their families now have no skin in the game. They are now free to treat universities the same way they treat high schools: Like a baby sitter for people who don’t have anything else to do. If the cost of tuition is zero, the cost of dropping out is zero.

Anything that isn’t worth paying for is generally worth what you paid for it. Expect that value of credentials from any ‘free’ school to fall to near zero.

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7 Responses to ‘Free’ College In New York!

  1. Slaphappypap says:

    It will get only worse when they major in “Gender Equality in the Workplace”.

  2. Uke says:

    Make things free. It’s just that easy! Why didn’t I think of that?

    I feel SO silly now.

  3. notamobster says:

    I think we should have free groceries… Uh, nevermind.

    Free healthcare! Wait… We’ve got that, too.

    Everyone should be able to go to college for free! I don’t see what could possibly go wrong. This is merely an extension of Trump’s interventionist ​trade policy. They’re protecting professor jobs from competitors.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      You know those little yellow styrofoam balls you put on your car antenna that help you find your car in a crowded lot? Those things are awesome. Every car should have one.

  4. rj says:

    Value of any degree from those schools just took a nosedive, be about worth a GED high school diploma.

  5. van-a-gram says:

    The ‘free tuition’ has a four year post graduate residency requirement which, of course, has these students in an uproar. How utterly “unfair” to require graduates remain in NY for 4 years.

    But even that is being watered down with various waivers being created such as hardship, attending graduate school out of state, military service or “inability to find a job in NY”. That last one will be the kicker “I can’t find a job as an underwater concert pianist in NY. Bye.” As soon as they graduate, land a job and realize that they are now paying for someone else’s college via taxes, they will bolt.

    Next outrage: They want me to pay for housing and books!

    The real outrage should be from people who paid full boat to a public university in NY who will now have a degree from what will soon be considered a diploma mill. Someone will sue. Someone always sues.

  6. BrunDawg says:

    Tuition at NYU is 50k/yr. Four years of paid college (5?) then four years of living out of college (back to mom’s basement). Seems to me you could rack up some serious debt living in NY then declare bankruptcy. They just shifted the debt to forgivable (or did 0bama forgive college debt?).
    No mention of the cost to monitor a program like this.