Free College Tuition in New York and its Effects on Affordable Housing

As highlighted by the New York Times…


…college tuition at public and state colleges will now be free provided students remain in New York for as many years as they used the free services. While this sounds exciting, let’s think about what this really means. Ethnic minorities are going to get pushed out of all that affordable housing. The housing in NYC is prime real estate for not only developers, but also the average person who loves the heartbeat of the city. What this means is that a wave of people moving who will not have to pay for college and will most likely have to live somewhere cheap.  As such, there will be greater consequences for this.


·      Statistically Speaking

Housing and college trends have changed over the years. As found in the Economist article, one can see that housing over time in NYC has been on the rise for a time now.  At the same time college attendance has gone up as well. Therefore, it is increasingly likely that with free tuition both college attendance and the cost of housing will rise proportionately.



·      Rise of Taxes


All of this free tuition will have to be supported somehow. The most logical conclusion for that is to raise taxes, especially state and local taxes for New Yorkers to cover the cost. Furthermore, property taxes will also increase making the price tag for living in NYC to be quite difficult. As such, it is a wonder how many people will live in NYC while going to college at no cost.


·      Lasting Impact of oversaturation


Not only will colleges now be filled with students to drive university costs, but many will have to adjust for the amount of people with waitlists or otherwise. I also have to think of the post-college impact on housing and the job markets in NYC. In order to get the free college tuition, you have to stay after college. With that being required that means that not only housing, but also some jobs will remain out of people’s grasps for years to come. Gentrification will also play a part here, as many parts of the city do not get built up or repaired until white people move in.





·      Are there any Benefits for low-income families?


All of this is not a warning as there are great benefits to low-income families around the tuition movement. One benefit is that college is free for everyone, which means that many low-income families will finally have an opportunity to afford college. This in turn gives more people money to spend on rent, housing, and businesses. Families do not have to be in years of debt for supporting their children through college, thus creating more income and new middle class members.


·      Less Debt


As seen with many European countries, there are definite advantages to students with less debt. Gone of the burdens of loans and bad credit that marks barriers to entry for a healthy job or entry to the market place. While this makes it difficult for many students to understand that aspect of finance, this opportunity gives them more time and money to learn about finance and how it works in a debt free college environment.


Free college tuition in the state of New York is a mixed bag for residents of NYC and it will continue to remain that way unless a clear version of fairness is there for college and housing.