New York lawmakers approve free middle class college tuition

Posted April 13, 2017

NY has become the first USA state to make tuition free for students from middle class families at public colleges that are two- and four-year.

And after graduation, they're required to work in NY for a set number of years, based on how many years they received free tuition. The income cap will be raised incrementally over the next three years, to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019. Another requirement of the scholarship is that students stay in NY state after they graduate for the same number of years they received the scholarship for. "The Excelsior Scholarship expands access to many more deserving students and the five-year tuition plan approved ensures college costs are predictable and transparent for all SUNY students and their families".

Cuomo first announced his plan for free tuition back in January alongside U.S. Sen.

"By providing tuition-free college to thousands of middle class New Yorkers, we are restoring the promise of the American Dream for the next generation and forging a bold path forward of access and opportunity for the rest of the nation to follow, Cuomo said. My nephew's 19. He's about to finish high school and my niece is 16 so they're getting older just like I am and they're gonna move on to college and I would like it to not affect them as much as it affects me", he said. Starting this fall, NY residents whose families make $100,000 or less per year could be eligible. The budget includes $7.5 billion supporting higher education, which is a 6.3% increase over the previous year.

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Are you a college-bound NY resident? Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said some 940,000 families will qualify. Having more educated workers will attract businesses to NY, he says. The legislation provides $8 million to promote online educational resources.

As part of the budget, lawmakers also approved a new tuition assistance program for students at private colleges and universities that offers up to $3,000 in tuition grants. Those students will not be eligible for the scholarship.

"With this budget, NY has the nation's first accessible college program". Although tuition is waived, other collegiate fees (including room and board) are not.

As for who will pay for the new policy, the state budget permits SUNY and CUNY to raise tuition by $200 a year.