On April 12, 2017, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a free college tuition bill into law. The Excelsior Scholarship makes the City and State Universities of New York tuition-free, but only for qualifying students. Students that are part time, undocumented, or whose families make over $125,000 per year are not eligible. Should college be free for everyone? 

In the winter of 2018, CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist Gabe Gordon and Yadira Echevarria’s internship class at the international Community High School (ICHS) in the Bronx to find out. To investigate, students got out of the classroom and into the realm of higher education to survey educators and school staff on the value of a degree and the possible hidden costs of education. What are the different types of academic degrees? How much does higher education actually cost? Who decides?

Students created the newspaper Free For All? to teach others what they learned and to help students navigate their higher education options. 

Get your own newspaper here!

What People are Saying

“Students were asked to write op-ed articles to support their artwork and it was the best writing the students had done the entire year. The students were really invested in the project and it was a meaningful learning environment for them.” – Yadira Echevarria, internship teacher

“This project really reinforced that college is accessible and that resources do exist to make college affordable. I know that many of the students appreciated the way the CUP class deviated from their normal class schedule and let them be creative. I think a lot of students appreciated the numerous opportunities for their perspective and personal stories to be heard and taken seriously.” – Gabe Gordon, Teaching Artist


Helal Abdulla, Maria Abreu Cappellan, Camila Alberto, Carlos Alberto, Julio Alberto, Alma Almonte Perez, Yorjeny Almonte, Khadeja Alomari, Julia Alvarenga, Mamadou Bah, Mamadou Macka Bah, Samantha Barrera, Sadou Barry, Renato Bello Ogando, Warlenny Breton, Mary Cabrera, Nicole Camacho Taveras, Alexandra Castillo, Genesis Castillo, Manny Castillo, Celine Collado, Lucas De La Cruz, Tania De Los Santos,Sakho Diakhate, Mariama Bobo Diallo, Mohamadou Diallo, Frica Diosnel, Alhussein Essaedi, Fatou Faye, Lisson Fernandez Taver, Franklin Figuereo, Silvio Francisco Pena, Gleidy Grullon, Alejandro Guerrero, Ambar Guerrero, Francisco Guerrero, Osman Guevara Castro, Fatima Binetou Gueye, Angel Gutierrez, Luis Gutierrez, Bryan Guzman, Leonel Hernandez, Luz Milka Hidalgo, Saleh Humaidi, Karina Jimenez, Jeremy Ladines, Maryuri Lainez, Sory Lantigua, Oscar Lino, Albert Lopez, Carlos Lopez, Chariny Luciano, Oziel Luzon, Jose Maldonado, Dalline Mancebo, Michael Martinez, Yunio Matos, Katherine Mayancela, Michael Medina, Madeline Mejia, Nicole Mendez Ramirez, Orlando Miranda, Ana Mogena, Wagner Montero, Anthony Moreira, Leittsha Moreira, Manuel Morel, Scarlet Morel, Yudelkis Morel, Mamoudou Niane, Mame Niang, Angel Nina Rodriguez, Kindry Norales, Perla Novas, Aldris Nunez, Elydianys Ortiz, Rikelmy Ortiz, Blaymi Paez, Virgilio Parache, Kimberly Polanco, Maria Pastor, Giuseppe Pazmino, Katherine Pichardo, Willianny Pichardo, Yessica Pichardo, Arafath Radji, Sergio Alberto Ramirez, Matthew Rivera Mora, Elizabeth Reynoso, Liliana Robledo, Melissa Rodriguez, Nayely Rodriguez, Raiddira Ruan, Perla Ruiz, Sheikh Rumana, Hanan Saleh, Santiago Rodriguez, Kendry Rosado, Erika Sain Hilaire, , Astou Samb, Jeison Santana Acosta, Sindy Santana, Clari Santos, John Santos, Adonis Nana Sewa, Malik Shami, Alvin Smythe, Nivida Solano, Kevin Solis, Carla Sosa, Ana Toribio, Luis Toribio Colon, Ayah Traore, Nancy Vivenes, Melannye Vizcaino, Luz Ynoa, and Michael Zapata

Resources & Links

International Community High School is a progressive high school in the South Bronx for English Language Learners.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the Bay & Paul Foundations, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support was provided by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to our interviewees from the Academy of Applied Mathematics and Technology, The American Dream School, and P.S. 30 Wilton School.


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Gabe Gordon

    • Project Lead
    • Jenn Anne Williams
    • Project Support
    • Clair Beltran
    • Nick Johnson
    • The International Community High School
    • Internship Teacher
    • Yadira Echevarria