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New York Approves Free College Tuition In A Game-Changing Move


(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

New York state is getting ready to offer tuition-free college education for select students. Continue for the full story.

What Happened?

New York lawmakers approved the tuition initiative over the weekend as a part of the state budget. Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the plan in January, which will see New York state supplement aid for in-state residents whose families earn $125,000 or less, providing tuition-free education at all state public two-year and four-year colleges.

“New York just became the first state in the nation to make tuition free for middle class students at both two- and four-year public colleges,” reported CNN.

This is a power move by New York and will provide greater educational opportunities to a wider range of kids. Seriously, the significance of this move can’t be understated. Not to get too heady on you, but Malcolm X once said that “educations is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” He’s right. Millennials love to complain about how screwed up the world is, but the only way to start fixing things is to learn and understand.

“Today, college is what high school was—it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement on the program’s inclusion in the state budget. “The Excelsior Scholarship will make college accessible to thousands of working and middle-class students and shows the difference that government can make.”

The program will be included over the next three years, starting in fall 2017 for New Yorkers earning up to $100,000 and increasing to $110,000 in 2018. New York officials believe it will help an estimated 940,000 families.


Students will have to take 30 credits to qualify, according to CNN. Additionally, The Post reports that students under this bill will be required to remain and work in New York for as many years as they receive funding. If students move out of New York, they will be required to pay the state back. Cuomo agreed with this provision, reportedly added by the GOP members of Congress.

“We have to get away from educating people and then having them move away. We want to create a climate for business and new jobs,” he said.

“Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you pick up and you move to California?” Cuomo continued. “The concept of investing in you and your education is that you’re going to stay here and be an asset to the state. If you don’t want to stay here, then go to California now, let them pay for your college education.”

Obviously, the student’s family’s income must also meet the $125,000 or less requirement as well.

Of course, free tuition doesn’t mean zero-cost college. Eligible New Yorkers will still be fronting the bill for room and board and other expenses. New York’s average in-state tuition of $7,710 for the 2016-17 academic year makes it the 12th-cheapest nationwide, based on data from the College Board. But, overall, this is a major step forward in terms of accessing a college education.

  • COED Writer
    A New York native & proud couch potato who loves all things pop culture. I can usually be found writing, making videos and ranking all the warriors in "Game of Thrones" based on their fighting prowess.