The New York Approves Free College Tuition

In the Sunday night budget package NY approved cover of four-year college tuition for residents and it becomes the only state in the United States to do so.

Under the Excelsior Scholarship, almost 80 percent, or 940,000 middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year, would qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year colleges in New York State. Each year until 2019, the income cap will lift until it reaches $125,000. As a result, many low-income students will still need loans to cover expenses such as room and board, textbooks and school fees, which can cost thousands per year. In addition, students must remain in NY after graduation for the same number of years they received the funding. "‶With the passage of the FY 2018 State Budget, New York is now home to the nation's first accessible college program - The Excelsior Scholarship".

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the idea in January, and this week he praised the legislature for making it a reality. This year, students whose families earn less than $100,000 per year would be eligible for free college tuition.

On the contrary, those who are not eligible for the scholarship will probably pay more. The budget will provide a record amount of $7.5 billion for higher education and include an additional $8 million to alleviate the cost of textbooks. In the 2015-2016 school year, about 127,974 Latinos - making up almost 20 percent of the undergraduate student population - attended CUNY and SUNY schools throughout the state.

In addition, those eligible to receive the scholarship must take 30 credits a year - a requirement which has drawn criticism from some lawmakers, as it excludes part-time students.

The governor's office estimates that the program will cost the state $163 million.

In the wise words of Alicia Keys, let's hear it for NY! "I think they should make a better policy that involves out-of-state and global students because not all worldwide students are loaded with money".

Students must maintain a grade point average necessary for the completion of their coursework and graduation. The program will be phased in over three years, beginning in fall 2017.

Adutayo Adewole, a junior exercise science major, thinks students who don't pay tuition won't take school seriously. Bernie Sanders at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.

"I was on the train reading the article and it was just a "phew" moment for me", Charalampous, who studies biology at the City College of New York (CCNY), said on Tuesday, referring to the launch of the new program.

  • Larry Hoffman