Cuomo Plans To Offer Free Tuition At State Colleges For Low Income Families

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Goodbye student debt? On Tuesday (Jan. 3), Governor of New York Andrew M. Cuomo reportedly announced his plan to offer free tuition at state colleges to thousands of low and middle income families, The New York Times confirms. Gov. Cuomo is expected to announce his proposal for the “Excelsior Scholarship” at an event at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders.

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Under this new legislation, any college student who is accepted into a New York state (or city) university or 2-year community college, will be eligible to receive free tuition, so long as their family earns $125,000 or less annually. The idea of the scholarship fund is to pay off tuition payments for thousands of students by utilizing existing state and federal loan and grant programs, NYT reports.

Although how the program will be funded has not been disclosed, the state administration has said that nearly $1 billion has been donated in support of tuition assistance already, Politico reports. Costs for the program would be around $163 million, although that number could vary, according to reports.

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As for when students and families can expect for the program to be implemented, the governor reportedly has high hopes to begin with a three-year rollout of the plan come Fall 2017. But the proposal will require legislative approval. Current tuition at a four-year state university or college is $6,460, and $4,350 for a two-year college. In the event it is approved, Gov. Cuomo predicts they will be able to assist nearly one million New York families or independent adults.