Cuomo scholarship plan excites students

By Matt Porter

January 10, 2014 Updated Jan 10, 2014 at 6:19 PM EST

Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As a science and technology teacher at Maine-Endwell High School, David Beard knows the importance of his lessons.

"If we don't have kids understanding how the world works, things are going to fall apart," Beard said.

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to provide full scholarships to students wishing to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, Beard couldn't hold back his excitement.

"It will certainly help push kids towards that or have them maybe gravitate toward areas they wouldn't have beforehand," he said.

Students wishing to pursue science and math in college would have to be in the top tenth percentile to be eligible for a scholarship.

The scholarships would only be available for SUNY and CUNY schools.

Junior Lance Sheard wants to pursue nano-technology, and said the new opportunities would make him more likely to choose a state school.

"I was looking at going to SUNY Albany already, so I heard about this chance and got pretty excited," Sheard said.

And now his dream could be much more affordable.

"Finances are pretty tight for my family," Sheard said. "So a full scholarship would mean a lot."

By offering full scholarships to students in STEM, Binghamton University president Harvey Stenger said he would expect more competition and some of the state's brightest talent choosing public universities.

"This financial incentive will make more of them interested in applying to Binghamton University or other SUNY campuses," Stenger said.

For junior student Larissa Plaskon who's thinking of a career in the medical field, she knows any financial aid will help her get into her dream job more quickly.

"I could move on faster after college," Plaskon said, "I don't have to worry about paying back debts and stuff."

The governor has not gone into detail about how the program would be paid for, he is expected to reveal more specific details at his budget address a month from now.