BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Alan Collinge has been researching the student loan debt problem for the past 10 year. He founded a website called http://www.studentloanjustice.org.
Collinge says Governor Cuomo’s newly approved Excelsior scholarship program has serious problems.
“It’s sort of a game of whack a mole. Where sure, on paper the tuition may go to zero but with all the other fees that are increased that will make up any benefit the student might of received,” said Alan Collinge, Studentloanjustice.org founder.
The scholarship offers free tuition for students of families who make $125,000 a year or less, as long as they meet certain requirements.
Collinge says the plan leaves the door wide open for colleges to get money from students elsewhere.
“All sorts of university fees. the colleges are very good at making up fees to capture revenue,” said Collinge.
He also says the plan doesn’t address the bigger problem of people who are already in student debt.
“There are 44 million people in this country under $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. This plan and other state plans do absolutely nothing for these people,” said Collinge.
Some parents who had to help their kids pay off school feel the same way.
“For us it’s unfair because we’ve already been through it. Our kids are thousands and thousands of dollars in the hole,” said Marangely Gonzalez of Buffalo.
“I think it’s a great idea but they should also forgive the student loans that are already out there for the people that have gone to school and now still owe the debts,” said Kim Whyte of Kenmore.
News 4 reached out to Buffalo State and the University at Buffalo. Buffalo State says as of now there are no plans to increase fees, and UB says it’s too early to discuss potential impacts.
For more information on the Excelsior scholarship go to the following link: http://wivb.com/2017/04/09/scholarship-program-to-offer-tuition-free-college-to-middle-class-families/