TUITION: Private schools are reaching

It is comical to see for-profit colleges and universities lamenting the effect of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship Program.

According to a news release from the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, adoption and implementation of “free tuition” at public colleges and universities for families earning less than $125,000 annually in New York state would cost private, not-for-profit colleges and universities enrollment losses between seven and 15 percent. Overall enrollment losses of 11 percent would put nearly 45,000 direct and indirect and induced jobs in jeopardy and lead to a shortfall of $224.3 million in tax revenues. In Western New York, the commission estimates a decrease of 2,749 students attending for-profit, private colleges or universities could lead to regional job losses of 1,377 positions and $3.8 million in lost tax revenue.

The state shouldn’t move forward with the Excelsior Scholarship Program, but not because of the complaints of private colleges and universities. We hope state legislators hold off on the Excelsior Scholarship Program because no one knows yet what it will actually cost. Private colleges and universities, however, have brought the state’s competition upon themselves by raising prices year after year and passing those costs on to beleaguered parents, students and taxpayers in the form of federally backed loans.

Cuomo’s plan may be flawed, but at least he has listened to the complaints of students and their parents. Private colleges and universities can’t say the same.