As of late, free college has become more and more of a priority issue on the left side of the aisle. It didn’t seem like lawmakers were embracing it, though, and on a federal level it clearly won’t be happening for at least several years. On Monday, however, New Yorkers woke up to the news that Governor Andrew Cuomo‘s inclusion of free college in the state budget, originally proposed in January, was approved by the state Senate late Sunday night.
“Today, college is what high school was — it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” said Cuomo in a statement.
Dubbed the Excelsior Scholarship, it will provide free tuition at schools in the State University of New York and City University of New York systems if an undergraduate student’s family makes less than $100,000 annually. That limit will raise to $110,000 next year and $120,000 in 2019. The costs covered are $4,350 per year of tuition at two year schools and $6,470 at four year schools, with the scholarship filling in the gaps not accounted for by existing financial aid programs. Students who live on campus, however, will still be subject to charges for room and board as well as other related fees, which run $14,000.
There are some other caveats, as well: The scholarship is for full time students taking 30 credits in the school year, though Cuomo says that part is “flexible” in the event of hardship. Students also need to live and work in-state after graduation for the same number of years that they got assistance for.
[image via MTA under Creative Commons license]
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