Yeshiva University will continue to participate in Governor Cuomo’s new Enhanced Tuition Awards program for the 2018-2019 Academic year. The New York State program, which started in 2017, offers aid to students attending private undergraduate institutions in light of recent legislation which will provide a free public college education to many students.
Criticisms of the program include possible residency and work restrictions, which may limit students even after they have graduated from college. This means that students on the program may be required to live and work in New York post-graduation, possibly for several years. Another criticism and reservation of schools that opted out is that the schools in the program are required to match the funding that the state offers. A total of $6,000 may be earned, and for example, if the program offers $2,000, the participating school will also have to offer $2,000, equaling $4,000 total for the student. The program also requires the colleges to offer a tuition freeze for students receiving funding, meaning that their tuition when they enter the school will be “frozen,” or unsusceptible to increase, through the duration of that student’s time at the school. As costs for private institutions rise annually, so does tuition, and this would limit the schools in their ability to collect the necessary funds needed to keep the school running and improving. However, the required “freeze” on tuition would only apply for the students enrolled in the Enhanced Tuition Awards Program.
With students unexpectedly receiving higher bills each year, YU has been criticized for not implementing a tuition freeze, which has been a trend in a number of colleges in recent years. “My dad called me and asked why my tuition was almost $2,000 more than last semester, and it was the first I had ever heard of a tuition raise,” said one student.
The timing of the program also causes reservations, as most schools completed and sent out their financial aid packages prior to the program being implemented.
Despite the many criticisms of and reservations about the program, Yeshiva University is one of the around 30% of eligible private colleges who have decided to participate.The primary appeal of the program is the possibility of additional financial aid which may allow students to have an easier time attending and paying for college. This is also appealing to some of the schools who opted out, and have stated that they may consider opting into the program in the future.
With a niche population of students from which to select for admission, Yeshiva University recognizes its need to offer financial support to allow all students who desire to be in a Jewish institution that opportunity. Unfortunately, financial losses following financial mismanagement and the 2008 financial crash have made it more difficult for the school to provide adequate scholarship funds for all students who need them. Luckily, loans and outside scholarships have been able to supplement many students’ tuition fees so that they are still able to attend the school. Merit scholarships offered for programs such as the school’s honors program have depleted significantly, from full ride offers to what is now a maximum of around a half scholarship of $20,000, only given to select students.
Participation in the new Enhanced Tuition Awards program will require the school to freeze tuitions for participating students and match funds to award recipients, even if the school later decides to opt out of the program for incoming students. YU’s decision to opt into the program despite the several strict rules and requirements is indicative of their attempts to work with students to offer as much financial aid as possible.