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Gov. Cuomo Proposes Free Tuition at New York State Colleges

By Staff


cuomo-sandersGov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan to make college tuition-free for middle class families at SUNY and CUNY two- and four-year colleges in New York.

The governor has labeled the program the Excelsior Scholarship, which will allow students whose families earn $125,000 or less per year to attend college tuition-free at state schools.

Gov. Cuomo made the announcement during an event at LaGuardia Community College, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who proposed a similar program last year while he sought the Democratic party’s nomination for president.

“A college education is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from, and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down,” Gov. Cuomo stated. “New York is making a major investment in our greatest asset, our people, and supporting the dreams and ambitions of those who want a better life, and are willing to work hard for it. I am honored to have the support of Senator Sanders, who led the way on making college affordability a right, and I know that together we can make this a reality with New York leading the way once again.”

According to Cuomo, the state will roll out the initiative using a phased-in approach over three years, beginning this fall.

The cost of the new initiative, which would supplement current state and federal tuition aid programs, will amount to $163 million per year, the governor stated.

However, Cuomo has not yet said how the state plans to fund the new program, and state legislators must still approve the proposal.

The state’s Tuition Assistance Program currently provides nearly $1 billion in grants to college students statewide. The tuition at State University of New York schools for state residents is $6,470 for four years, and $4,350 at community colleges for two years, similar to schools in the City University of New York system.

Visit to view the governor’s full announcement, or click on the image below.

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