New York lawmakers approve free middle class college tuition
05:01, Apr 11, 2017
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"So, it's a very small piece of funding that's going to have an enormous impact across the state", he said.
NY may be the first state in the country to make "free college" a reality, but in February, San Francisco became the first USA city to offer all of its residents free tuition for community college.
According to the governor's statement, almost 75.7 percent of families with college-aged children across the state will qualify for tuition-free enrollment at a State University of NY or City University of NY school. Award recipients attending community college now have to remain in NY for two years after graduation, while those at state universities must stay for four years.
The idea, the governor explained, is to ensure that students give back to the state that provides their scholarship. Because we made the determination as society that you needed high school.
The plan will be phased in over the first three years, with tuition being free for residents who earn up to a specific income cap.
It is learned the state's Excelsi or Scholarship program's income cap will increase next year to $110,000 and thereafter in 2019 to $125,000.
The tuition initiative could affect more than 940,000 qualifying families and individuals in NY, the Cuomo administration said. There is no sliding scale. Both state and city university systems were granted permission to raise their tuitions by $200 in the budget agreement.
State four-year schools in NY cost $6,470 per year to attend, with community colleges costing $4,350 per year. If students choose to leave the state, the scholarship would immediately convert into a loan.
Is there an age limit?
The budget contains nearly all of Cuomo's major proposals for the year and includes, he said, some of his proudest achievements with lawmakers.
Could students lose the scholarship? Students are required to attend college full-time, maintaining an average 30 credits per year. Some of those credits could be taken during the summer.
The deal includes both the State Universities of NY, or SUNY, and the City Universities of NY program, known as CUNY.
It will also cover students now enrolled in a state school.
How much will SUNY and CUNY cost students now?
The initiative also includes $19 million for a new tuition award program for students at private colleges. Those other expenses can add up to $14,000 a year.
But students could see lower costs for text books next year.
"With this budget, we have established a national model for access to higher education, and achieved another NY first", the governor wrote in a post on Medium. Students who fall behind in their studies have to pay tuition.