NY state to offer free tuition to students in public colleges

Posted April 14, 2017

A measure introduced by Governor Cuomo in January, the legislation was approved by lawmakers this weekend.

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

Beginning in the fall, undergraduate college students attending a State University of NY or a City University of NY will become eligible for an Excelsior Scholarship if the family earns less than $100,000 per year. It would first apply to families who earn $100,000 or less, then to those who earn $110,000 or less in 2018, and eventually reaching $125,000 or less in 2019.

While some states already have grant and scholarship programs, NY is the first to offer such a comprehensive program with no requirements other than residency and income-with no caps on how many residents can get free tuition.

Eligible students will not have to pay the $6,470 annual tuition cost at four-year institutions and about $4,350 a year at community colleges. Bernie Sanders at a press conference to announce plans for the Excelsior Scholarship. Other expenses can add up to $14,000 a year.

This is part of New York's Excelsior Scholarship Program. "I'm glad that students with families who have lower incomes can attend college and don't have to worry about tuition even though there will be other fees".

With tuition at a NY state community college clocking in at $4,350, and their state university counterpart coming in about $2,000 more, the necessity to alleviate educational debt is apparent.

In a pretty monumental feat, NY is the first state to offer universal public college tuition coverage for working and middle class residents.

Under terms of the deal, the program would be phased in over three years. Meaning if a student leaves NY for a job after graduating, the scholarship will then be transferred into a loan. Here are some "catches" in the NY state plan.

The plan does not cover room and board, and students would have to meet grade-point and class load rules to maintain enrollment.

Students must be enrolled full-time with at least 30 credits per year in order to qualify, and they are expected to cover housing costs.

The Governor is confident this new free college tuition program will provide an education to many more New Yorkers who might not be able to afford it.

Are you a college-bound NY resident? It is estimated that 200,000 students would become eligible for the program when it was completely implemented. "I hope students, families, and educators across our country will continue to speak out on this issue, and call on more states to follow suit".