Tuition program would benefit 32000 SUNY students

Tuition will be free for residents who earn up to a specific income cap, which will be phased in over the first three years.

Hundreds of thousands of NY residents mulling the idea of going to college at a public university could soon enroll for free, as the state's lawmakers passed a budget over the weekend that included a program that would allow students from middle- and low-income families to attend college for free. Next year, more families will become eligible when the income cap increases to $110,000.

Students will still need to pay their own room and board costs. Typical fees in a SUNY school runs at $1,590 per year, with books adding $1,000 on top of that.

The scholarship does have several stipulations tied to it, including the mandate that students must take 30 credits each year, which effectively excludes part-time students. If students take advantage of the tuition plan, they must stay in NY after graduation for the same number of years they received the scholarship. They must repay the money as a loan if they take a job in another state. This measure was not included in the original proposal.

"But until they do, I want every young person to America to understand: You move to NY, you make your commitment in NY, you can get an affordable college education".

The scholarship could save families about $6,470 in tuition for four-year courses, but the program only covers tuition costs. Now it is a reality for about 940,000 families who are eligible for the scholarship program once it is fully implemented in 2019. But, just like for other demographics, the scholarship will make a huge difference for the Latino student body.

From the start of his presidential campaign in 2015, Sanders promised to make tuition free for everyone who attends state colleges.

Students must be enrolled full time to be eligible for the program, which the governor initially proposed in January.

SUNY Chairman Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher applauded the budget deal in a statement released by the school, calling the plan "truly ground-breaking". Bernie Sanders at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Private colleges lobbied heavily against the legislation, arguing it puts them at an extreme disadvantage in the competitive world of college admissions.

Starting this fall, SUNY students whose families make less than $100,000 per year will be able to attend college tuition free.

  • Larry Hoffman