Eligible students would not have to pay tuition at any school in the State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) systems, which costs $6,470 per year at four-year schools and $4,350 per year at community colleges, but would still have to pay for room and board and other fees.
It is revealed about 80 percent of the families in NY with college-age kids could use the Excelsior Scholarship program.
In order to qualify, participants must remain in NY for two years after graduation if they attend a community college, and they must stay for four years if they attend a public university.
Otherwise they must pay back the money as a loan.
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.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement mentioning, "With this budget, NY has the nation's first accessible college program". Additionally - a last-minute stipulation added to the bill - they need to stay in-state to live and work for as many years as they are enrolled in college with the program, which covers up to 5 years. And it'll cost the state about $163 million a year. "It was the Tennessee plan that led President Obama to propose in 2015 a state-federal partnership that would have made community college free in participating states", wrote Inside Higher Ed.
"I believe every single child and young person in NY and America deserves the chance as their hard work, their skills, education will take them", she said.
The final budget includes an additional $19 million to create a new financial assistance program for private school students whose families make under the income cap, according to the governor.
Under terms of the deal, the program would be phased in over three years. That means NY will be the first state to put a policy into action that grants free tuition assistance to students. Projections about how many students will benefit from the program vary; according to the New York Times, Gov. Cuomo's office said 940,000 families are eligible for the benefit, but a legislative analysis said it would be closer to 32,000. Meanwhile, New York State has no such problem.
Under the plan, students from NY state whose families earn $125,000 or less will be eligible. The state officials have also announced that students who sought the scholarship but have to leave for military service will be accommodated.
As Goldrick-Rab pointed out, this particular clause will greatly limit the economic mobility of students, hindering their chances at getting good jobs and essentially prohibiting them to look for better opportunities for career advancement.
But int terms of free college tuition, NY is far ahead of California.