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Gov. Cuomo Proposes Initiative to Make College Tuition-Free for New Yorkers

Gov. Cuomo Proposes Initiative to Make College Tuition-Free for New Yorkers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to make school tuition-free for qualifying students at public colleges in New York.

On Jan. 3, Cuomo shared his proposal at LaGuardia Community College in Queens alongside U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, who has been a proponent for free tuition and campaigned for it in the 2016 presidential race, according to a press release.

The plan is called the Excelsior Scholarship and would be geared toward families with an income of $125,000 or less—approximately 940,000 New York households. Students will have to be enrolled full-time at a two- or four-year public college. If successful, it will first be introduced in fall 2017 and will be phased over three years, beginning with families making $100,000, then increasing to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019. 

"It's incredibly hard and getting harder to get a college education today. It's incredibly expensive and debt is so high it's like starting a race with an anchor tied to your leg," Cuomo said, according to CNN.

In 2015, the average student loan debt in New York was $29,320. The average annual tuition for a bachelor’s degree at a SUNY and CUNY school ranges from $6,330-$6,470, and tuition for an associate’s degree is between $4,350-$4,800.

The entire plan is expected to cost $163 million per year once it is fully implemented.



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