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Education

Governor defends free college tuition plan at state schools

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WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
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Governor Andrew Cuomo is declaring victory now that the Legislature approved a budget that will include a tuition-free scholarship program for low and middle income families. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley says he appeared in Buffalo Tuesday touting the Excelsior Scholarships.   

“I don’t care if mom can afford it or dad can afford it. I don’t care where you come from, you’re going to get a public education at a college in the State of New York,” declared Governor Cuomo.    

The Governor is confident this new free college tuition program will provide an education to many more New Yorkers who might not be able to afford it. It will provide paid college tuition to eligible families earning $125,000 or less to attend any state college or university.

“And for us to be the first state in the nation – to say every one of our children can go to college, if they have the talent and it doesn’t matter how much money they have in their pocket – that is smart for the state,” stated Cuomo.

“The Excelsior program that provides free tuition in SUNY and CUNY schools in the State of New York is off the chain!” shouted Crystal People Stokes, State Assemblywoman from Buffalo.

People Stokes of appeared with the Governor, speaking in high support of the tuition program, noting it will breaking open new opportunities for students.

“But what will happen is that when our young people graduate from schools all over this state from high school, they are going to be able to go to a college or university and get the kind of skill set they need to fulfill our workforce needs,” stated People Stokes.

But tuition-free plan is receiving criticism from some private college leaders. The program will require students to remain in New York after they gradate to live and work in the state for the same number of years they benefited from the funding. If they leave the state that scholarship turns into a loan.  The critics say this could create a new form of debt for college students. Students would also remain full time, maintain their grades and graduate on time.

Cuomo officially signed the legislation Wednesday morning to enact the Excelsior Scholarship program. 

 

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