April 12, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in Long Island City today that will make New York State public colleges free to families making up to $125,000 per year.
Cuomo signed the legislation, called the Excelsior Scholarship, at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City today, marking the first program of its kind nationwide. Once fully enacted, the program will make free tuition available to 940,000 families in New York.
“By providing tuition-free college to thousands of middle class New Yorkers, we are restoring the promise of the American Dream for the next generation and forging a bold path forward of access and opportunity for the rest of the nation to follow,” Cuomo said. “With a college education now a necessity to succeed in today’s economy, I am proud to sign this first-in-the-nation legislation that will make college accessible, strengthen the middle class, and build a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”
The legislation will be phased in over the next three years, beginning this fall for families making up to $100,000 per year. In the fall of 2018 it will become available for those making up to $110,00 per year and by fall 2019 it will be fully available for families making $125,000 per year.
To take advantage of the program, students must be enrolled in school full time, averaging 30 credits per year, and must maintain a passing grade point average. Scholars taking advantage of the program will also be required to live and work in New York State for the same number of years that they received free tuition following their graduation.
“New York State has long been a pioneer in education. Taking this next step to make college tuition-free for hardworking families is the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. I was proud to put this plan forward during my campaign, and I’m thrilled that it’s become a reality in New York,” said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who attended the bill signing today.