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New York Becomes First State To Offer Free Tuition At Public Universities

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan to make public college tuition free for potential students back in January 2017. Late Sunday night (April 9), his proposition was approved by the Senate. Incoming students starting school in the fall who meet the specific economic threshold may score a free ride to a in-state public college or university.

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For the fall of 2017 if a student attends a New York State university and has a family income below $100,000 he or she will be eligible to receive the Excelsior Scholarship. The income cap rises to $110,000 in 2018 and will reach $125,000 for 2019. There is a catch for part-time students to enroll, as only those who take on 30 credits an academic year will be able to use the financial aid.

“Today, college is what high school was. It should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” Gov. Cuomo said of his groundbreaking proposal. While New York families may not have the financial burden of worrying about college, the state is reportedly footing the $163 million bill.

Upon graduation, those who accept the scholarship must work in New York for the same number of years they received funding. Meaning if a student leaves New York for a job after graduating, the scholarship will then be transferred into a loan.

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This is a vital step in making an education easier to achieve, and hopefully other states will follow New York’s lead. Oregon and San Francisco have made community college tuition free of charge and legislation in Rhode Island is rumored to be organizing a proposal similar to New York’s for two-year schools, according to CNN.

It’s a good day to be a New Yorker.

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