How many students are taking advantage of the Excelsior Program?
New York State's Excelsior Program, offering students free tuition at NYS schools, created concern when Governor Andrew Cuomo launched it more than a year ago.
Private colleges worried it might cut into the available pool of in-state students and impact enrollment.
We checked with private colleges and universities to find out if that has happened and so far it looks like the Excelsior Program has had little impact.
On Thursday, you could hear the sounds of exuberant freshman on campus as they moved into Nazareth College.
The students are not alone in their excitement.
Nazareth College President Daan Braveman shares in the excitement as well.
He says the freshman class has increased every year for the past three years.
While the official numbers won't come in for a few weeks, about 550 incoming freshmen are checking in at Nazareth.
An additional 130 students transferred to the college in Pittsford.
"This year, if you combine our freshman class and our transfer students we've had the largest new student group ever in the history of the college," Braveman said. "We haven't felt the impact yet of Excelsior."
Other local private colleges in Rochester are reporting little to no impact on enrollment.
Messenger Post's news partner, News10NBC also checked with Roberts Wesleyan College
A college spokesperson said Roberts Wesleyan College is seeing the largest freshman class in three years and it beats last year's enrollment by six-percent.
St. John Fisher College, for the first time in three years, is seeing a slight dip in incoming freshmen. However, it's down only 20 students from 626 freshmen last year.
Braveman attributes much of Nazareth's success to the college's investment in academic programs. The college offers 60.
"A couple years ago, I challenged every single person on this campus, whatever he or she does, to think about how the job affects the student's success and it's paid off. This year we had the highest retention rate in the history of the college. "
Wednesday was move-in day at the University of Rochester where more than 1,300 students began their academic careers.
Rochester Institute of Technology welcomed a record 2,900 freshmen Wednesday.
So, how many students are taking advantage of the Excelsior Program?
The Center for the Urban Future, a think tank in New York City, found only 20,086 students out of the 633,543 statewide.
However, it also found more than one-third of the 63,059 students who applied to the program were rejected because they lacked enough credits.
If you're already in college, you have to have at least 30 college credits to qualify.