New York State Is Set to Test Free Tuition

New York is set to offer free tuition to public colleges for state residents who earn less than $125,000 a year, reports the Associated Press. Under a deal between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and legislators, students from such families will be able to enroll at campuses of the State University of New York or the City University of New York without paying tuition.

While other states allow free tuition to community colleges as well as other reduced tuition programs, the New York effort is being called the nation’s first free-tuition program for middle-class families. The initiative is included in a $153-billion state budget that was approved by the State Senate late Sunday after being endorsed by the Assembly a day earlier.

The tuition plan, called the Excelsior Scholarship, will start in the fall of 2017, when students from families who make $100,000 or less a year will be eligible, with the income amount increasing to $125,000 by 2019. Around 940,000 New York families will eventually be eligible, according to a website created by the governor’s office to promote the plan.

The scholarship won’t cover room and board. Students must be enrolled full time, average 30 credits a year, and maintain a sufficient grade-point average. They will be required to live and work in New York for the same number of years that they received the scholarship.

Some New York lawmakers had derided the program, saying it won’t help part-time students and may hurt private colleges in the state.

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