New York lawmakers approve free middle class college tuition

13 April, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Michele Stevens

Under the program, any tuition that is not covered by federal Pell Grants and New York's Tuition Assistance Program will be covered, meaning it is a "last dollar" program. In a series of tweets before the legislature acted on the budget, she urged lawmakers to remove the stay-in-New-York requirement, calling it "a trick" and "dangerous".

Many people have praised NY for "catching up with other countries", but based on the repayment caveat, the United States has already had a "free" college program in place for over 100 years. The limit will increase to $110,000 in 2018 and to $125,000 in 2019.

Eligible students will pay nothing for tuition, which averages at about $6,470 annually at four-year institutions and about $4,530 and two-year colleges.

The high cost of college tuition can plague a graduate years after they've received their degree, thanks to student loans.

They must take 30 credits a year - something that upset some critics, who say it excludes those who can only go to college part-time. It will still be hard for students who don't attend schools full time. However, those facing hardships can take a break and restart the program or take fewer credits.

The free tuition comes with some important stipulations: students must be enrolled full-time, and graduates must live and work in NY for the same number of years they received the scholarship.

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Otherwise they must pay back the money as a loan. This requirement was not included in the governor's initial proposal.

The Governor's office estimated that the scholarship would cost over $163 million in year one, but some NY lawmakers said that figure was low. An estimated 200,000 students would be eligible once the program is fully implemented. Students must remain in NY for as many years as they received the benefit. The City University of New York (CUNY) includes 24 senior and community colleges and graduate schools across New York City, which is home to more than 40 percent of the almost 20 million people who live in New York.

Students must be enrolled full time to be eligible for the program, which the governor initially proposed in January.

SUNY Chairman Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher applauded the budget deal in a statement released by the school, calling the plan "truly ground-breaking". However, critics of the plan say that this projection is too low and that the bill will likely cost more.

Students of participating private colleges can also apply for assistance of up to $3,000 if they are under the income cap - but the college must agree to match that sum.

"With this budget, NY has the nation's first accessible college program".

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