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As May 1 Nears, N.Y.’s Free-Tuition Plan Sows Confusion About What Private Colleges Can Offer

The Excelsior Scholarship, which was drafted by the state’s Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, applies to both two- and four-year public colleges. It comes with a tangle of strings attached. For instance, it requires that students who get four-year scholarships attend full time and remain in the state for four years after graduating.

It appears to promise a tuition break to students who attend private colleges, but only if those colleges agree to financial concessions they say they don’t have enough information to make before their students’ decision deadline.

All of that has added up to confusion and stress as families try to figure out their next moves with only a few weeks to pore over the fine print in the state’s plan.