New York Becomes First State to Offer Free 4-Year College Tuition

Brooklyn College students walk between classes on campus in New York. The New York state Legislature approved a budget

"With investment to bring a SUNY education within reach for all New Yorkers, this year's budget is affirmation from the State that our colleges and universities offer a top-quality higher education that prepares students for career success and is among the most affordable in the world", they said in a statement. On Saturday, the Assembly approved the tuition-free plan - which Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced in January - as part of the 2017-2018 state budget. These students have another choice, though: pay back their college tuition fees. "It's incredibly expensive and debt is so high it's like starting a race with an anchor tied to your leg". In addition, students must complete 30 credit hours a year to remain eligible. Students also need to live and work in-state after graduation for the same number of years that they got assistance for. If they do not follow through with that requirement, the scholarship will be converted to a loan.

- Students must finish their degrees on time, graduating in two years for an associate degree, or in four years for a bachelor's degree. The scholarship only includes tuition, not room and board or other expenses like textbooks and meal plans.

"The Excelsior Scholarship will make college accessible to thousands of working and middle class students and shows the difference that government can make", Cuomo says.

His promise to make tuition free for everyone who attends state universities helped draw huge crowds of young people to his campaign rallies and forced nomination rival Hillary Clinton to endorse some of his progressive policies, including on university tuition.

Between 1980 and 2014, the cost of college tuition increased almost 260 percent.

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An income cap will be raised to $110,000 in 2018 and will lift to $125,000 in 2019.

New and current students may apply. The Governor's plan had fewer stipulations.

But students with Excelsior Scholarship have their tuition frozen at today's price. Though other cities and states - Tennessee, Oregon, and San Francisco, for example - have offered free tuition for community colleges, ny state is the first to include four-year institutions. "Taking this next step to make college tuition-free for hardworking families is the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do".

For more information, to access frequently asked questions or to sign up to receive updates on the Excelsior Scholarship, visit "The Excelsior Scholarship is Leading the Way to College Affordability" or On average, those students carried $29,320 in financial obligations.



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