Earlier this week, New York become the first state to officially offer higher education for free. In-state students that meet a specific income cap will be able to attend a two or four-year state university or college tuition-free. The program will be rolled out over the course of three years.
Free tuition is a hot topic in today’s news headlines and is capturing the attention of many celebrities. Most recently, Chrissy Teigen offered to pay a woman’s tuition for beauty school when she didn’t have the opportunity to get financial aid.
Beginning this fall, undergraduate students who attend a state university or college in New York will be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship if their families less than $100,000 a year. It is geared towards full-time students taking 30 or more credits per year, but according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, that requirement is flexible.
To keep their talent in-state, students who receive the scholarship must live and work in New York for the same number of years they received funding. If they move, their scholarship is transformed into a loan.
This basic idea was originally proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January and lawmakers agreed to include it into the state budget last weekend.
“Today, college is what high school was — it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.
An estimated 200,000 students would be eligible for the scholarship and it’s estimated to cost the state at least cost $163 million in the first year.
The savings of more than $4,000 each year is a benefit to students and promotes the pursuance of education. Students will still need to pay for the costs of fees and housing, which can add up to more than $14,000 per year, but the program hopes to encourage more young adults in New York to pursue higher education.
Last month, Ellen DeGeneres surprised an entire senior class from Brooklyn with free tuition with the same goal in mind. Promoting education for those that don’t have the means to afford it.
The budget also includes aid for students that attend New York private universities. They’ll receive a maximum award of $3,000 based on family income. Colleges that participate must match that funding and agree to keep the student’s tuition expense the same while they’re enrolled.
Other states and cities including Tennessee, Oregon, San Francisco offer free tuition for community colleges for all residents, regardless of income. New York is the first state to make tuition free for four-year public colleges for qualifying residents.
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