In a major victory for the movement to improve access to higher education, New York is set to become the only state that offers free tuition at four-year colleges.
Deemed the Excelsior Scholarship, the free tuition plan is included in the $163 billion state budget approved Saturday by the The Democrat-controlled Assembly. The Republican-led Senate will vote on the budget Sunday evening; and with Senate Leader John Flanagan (R-Long Island) supporting it, it’s likely to pass.
The Excelsior Scholarship will cover tuition for any New Yorkers whose families earn less than $125,000 a year and who are accepted to one of the state’s public community colleges or public four-year universities ― which cost approximately between $4,350 and $6,470 annually.
The scholarship is applicable to around 80 percent of the 940,000 families with college-aged children in New York, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who first proposed the tuition-free degree program in January.