New York’s Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced his plan Tuesday morning to offer free tuition at state colleges for middle and low-income New Yorkers. Under Cuomo’s plan, any college student who has been accepted to a state or city university in New York (including two-year community colleges) will be eligible provided they or their family earn $125,000 or less annually. The program will be called the Excelsior Scholarship.
Via New York Times:
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, unveiled his proposal at an event at LaGuardia Community College in Queens alongside Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who had sought their party’s presidential nomination with a similar stance last year, arguing that student debt was crippling the prospects of generations of young Americans. Called the Excelsior Scholarship, the funds are envisioned as a way to complete tuition payments by supplementing existing state and federal loan and grant programs.
While it was not revealed how the program is going to be paid for, the administration said New York state has already pledged nearly $1 billion in support through its tuition assistance program.
If the Excelsior Scholarship plan is approved, estimates show that the program would allow nearly a million New York families to qualify. The estimated costs of the Excelsior Scholarship program are around $165 million. A three-year rollout of the Excelsior Scholarship will begin in the fall.
Overall, this is a natural progression for both Cuomo and the American higher education system. Both Cuomo and Americans as a nation have been trending towards reducing the cost of college and this is yet another step in that direction.
The average tuition of New York state universities is $6,470 for state residents.
Excelsior, which means ‘ever upward’ in latin, is the New York state motto.