Free tuition: Residency was correct move

On Jan. 12 in this column, we stated that we weren’t sure it was possible for the state to provide free tuition to middle class families, but if they did, then those students should be required to live in New York.

Today, we applaud the state for enacting a residency requirement, which we called for three months ago.

There is no reason New York state taxpayers should foot the bill for college students, only to have them move elsewhere. If they want the free tuition, they should get jobs in New York and become taxpayers, helping pay for the next generation of students going to college. If they don’t want to stick around, then they shouldn’t be getting tax dollars to fund their education.

Another advantage of the residency requirement is it could help slow the “brain drain.” With more college graduates being forced to either stay in New York state or pay back tuition costs, students will work harder at sticking around.

Of course, that’s no guarantee. New York state needs to work harder at being business friendly. But with businesses learning more college graduates will be looking for work, they may be more willing to set up shop.

Let’s hope free tuition is the first step in turning around the ever-growing problem of population loss, especially in Upstate New York.