Governor: Free-tuition plan will cover 80% of NY families

New York state is set to offer free tuition for middle-class students to attend public colleges and universities.



The newly approved state budget includes a program to cover state tuition for families in the state, which will be phased in over three years. It initially covers families earning up to $100,000 a year; next year, the income limit rises to $110,000 and in two years, it will increase to $125,000.



Gov. Andrew Cuomo says about 80 percent of New York families will be eligible for the free tuition plan.



The average tuition at a SUNY school is about $6,500 a year. The program is designed so that students will have to apply for financial aid, and no matter how much they receive from other sources, the state will make up the difference equal to $6,500.



Eligible students who want to attend private colleges would get up to $6,000 toward their tuition. The program covers only colleges and universities within New York state, and students covered by the program will have to stay in the state after graduation or pay back the money.



The program does have its critics -- some people don't think taxpayers should have to pay for the tuition of middle-class students.



But for students and families who are grappling with the expense of college, the program brings relief.


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