New York Is The First State To Offer Free College Tuition

The State Senate is expected to approve the next year’s fiscal budget on Sunday, and with it, a bill that would make college tuition free at 2- and 4-year public colleges for middle class families.

Starting this fall, students will be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship if their families earn less than $100,000 per year, that cap will bump up to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

“I hope we do get free tuition because we really need it,” said Michaela Lawson, a freshman at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “Especially, you know, families here in New York. We, not a lot of us, make a lot of money so it would be really helpful.”

More than 940,000 families with college-age children across New York would qualify.

“I definitely think that I would fall into that category,” said Rachel Ahern, a junior at F.I.T.

Louise Ahern, Rachel’s mom, is paying for two kids’ college tuitions at the same time.

“We’re middle class, it’s very hard,” she said. “I just went back to work after being home for a number of years, and that was for health insurance and to pay for two colleges.”

Eligible students must be enrolled full-time and average 30 credits per year to get funding. You must maintain a passing grade point average.

Recipients must also stay in-state after college for the same number of years that they got free tuition. Otherwise, their scholarship would be converted into loans.

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