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UB students learn about state’s tuition-free requirements

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Applications for the state's tuition-free plan for eligible students to attend all SUNY schools will be ready at the end of this month.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul appeared at the UB's North Campus Monday touting the Excelsior Scholarships to students.   

“So you have to be a resident of New York – clearly I suspect you’ve been living here on campus at least a year – so you are a resident of New York. You have to take your 30-credits. Maintain good academic standing,” Lt. Governor Hochul told a crowd of UB students.

Hochul was trying to convince University at Buffalo students there is no down-side to the tuition free plan.  But it has been highly criticized for a guideline that says students must stay in the state for the amount of years they received the tuition funds or it will be turned into a loan.                

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul talks with UB students about the Excelsior Scholarships.

“So some people are criticizing – ‘oh why are you making these poor kids stay in the State of New York’ – well first of all I don’t think it’s so bad to live in New York – I mean it is the greatest state in the nation,” Hochul declared. 

WBFO asked Hochul about requiring students to stay in the state. She defended the plan.


“You probably would have had a loan anyhow, so it converts to a loan, so why don’t you at least participate, take advantage of it, and if you can absolutely not find a job here in New York or you want to leave for whatever reason, we are not going to put handcuffs on you. We just going to simply say this is a loan,” answered Hochul.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul talks with UB students about the Excelsior Scholarships.

But Hochul could not answer when interest on the loan would accumulate if the student left the state or what the interest rate would be.

“There’s no way the State of New York is going to gouge these students. We are doing everything we can to help them, so it will be fair and it will be reasonable,” Hochul replied.   

“I don’t want to stay here for the next two years,” declared Sitara Babury, second year UB student.         

UB Sitara Babury.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

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Babury said she would be eligible, but wants to attend graduate school out-of-state for industrial and organizational psychology.

“New York State doesn’t offer that many programs for the masters in that,” Babury explained. 

Monday marked National College Enrollment Deposit Day when students decide what school they will attend. The new tuition program kicks in this fall. Families earning $100,000 or less are eligible.  In future years it will be increased to $110,000 and then eligibility climbs to $125,000 by the year 2019.       

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