Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York made a lot of people happy on Monday, April 10 when he confirmed that the burden has been lifted off hundreds of thousands of New York residents when it comes to college tuition. On Sunday, New York state's lawmakers approved a budget that includes a scholarship program that will provide free tuition to those who qualify.

Free tuition

The Excelsior Scholarship program will provide free tuition for those going to New York public colleges and universities.

This means an estimated 940,000 families and individuals can take advantage of the program. Free tuition will be granted to students starting with the 2017 fall semester. This applies to students from low-income or middle-income families making up to $100,000 a year. Then the income requirement increases to $110,000 in 2018. In 2019, the income requirement will be $125,000 annually. Once the entire plan is fully implemented, it will cost the state $163 million each year.

Students will be able to attend college tuition-free at all City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) universities. The program offers tuition, but it does not include the absence of other fees. Students still must pay for their books, room, and board.

Eligibility

Other then the family's annual income, each student must enroll full time and carry an average of 30 credits each school year.

The total may include credits earned over the summer semester. Additionally, students must maintain a passing grade point average. After graduation, recipients must live and work in the state the same number of years they received the tuition.

Other states

It has been reported that New York is the first state to offer free tuition to students attending four-year public colleges and universities. However, there are three other states that offer free tuition programs for two-year schools.

Three years ago, Tennessee became the first state to provide all high school graduates with free tuition if they attend two-year community colleges or technical schools in the state. A year later, Oregon did the same thing for high school students with at least a 2.5 grade point average. Minnesota also offers a similar program for student attending a community college in that state.

Now that New York has a free tuition plan in place, other states might follow with something similar.

They might decide to start off with plans like those in place in Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota.

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