Categories: News

NY Becomes First State To Make College Tuition Free For Poor & Middle Class

Photo courtesy of the City University of New York

New York may very well be on its way to offering free tuition to four-year colleges.

The plan, which is called the Excelsior Scholarship, would allow any NY student whose family has an annual income of $125,000 or less to attend one of the state’s public community colleges or public four-year universities for free (however room and board would not be covered).

To qualify the student would have to be enrolled full-time, maintain a certain grade point average, and a number of credits each year.

The tuition-free degree program is included in the $163 billion state budget approved by lawmakers this past Sunday, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“College is today what high school was 50 years ago,” Cuomo said in a radio interview Sunday on AM 970 in New York City. “If you’re a young person who wants success and a career, a college education is necessary.”

“There is no child who will go to sleep tonight and say, I have great dreams, but I don’t believe I’ll be able to get a college education because parents can’t afford it,” Cuomo added. “With this program, every child will have the opportunity that education provides.”

According to a report from ABC 7, the tuition plan will be phased in over three years, with families making $100,000 or less annually eligible in the fall of 2017, and the threshold rising to $125,000 in 2019. An estimated 940,000 families will qualify.

The initiative also includes $19 million for a new tuition award program for students at private colleges.

Sen. Bernie Sanders voiced his support of the program saying “What Governor Cuomo is proposing is a revolutionary idea for higher education. It’s an idea that’s going to reverberate not only throughout the State of New York but throughout this country.”

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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Elijah C. Watson

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