A first: New York will offer free tuition at all four-year state colleges for qualifying families

Source: CS Monitor

APRIL 10, 2017 —On Sunday, the New York State Senate passed a budget that includes a $163-million initiative to offer free tuition at public colleges and universities to students with an annual family income of $125,000 or less. The new program represents a first in the United States: Never before has a state offered free tuition to any four-year state university or community college, including students from many families whose income levels would be considered middle class.

The Excelsior scholarship, which was first proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in January, was included in the state's $153-billion state budget proposal. The program will be phased in over the next few years, but families earning $100,000 or less will be able to take advantage of the scholarship beginning in the fall.

The new scholarship will break new ground in the US, yet it is only the latest proposal aimed at making college more affordable. Across the country, legislators and education officials have begun reevaluating the rising cost of higher education and the increasing necessity of collegiate training in many fields of employment. A number of cities and states have programs helping students with tuition at community colleges, while Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota offer tuition-free community college.



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