NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - In what is being called a historic move, New York will be the first state in the nation to offer free public college tuition to middle-class students. Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo worked out the deal in the state budget that was announced on Friday. The assembly approved it Saturday and the Senate approved it Sunday.
Cuomo first announced his plan for free tuition back in January alongside U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. Now it is a reality for about 940,000 families who are eligible for the scholarship program once it is fully implemented in 2019. Cuomo said it will "change lives" and will help the state's workforce.
Students whose parents make $125,000 annually or less and are accepted full-time to any two- or four-year CUNY or SUNY campus will qualify. Here are other requirements: The student has to maintain a minimum grade point average (depending on the department and major), take 30 credits a year, and live and work in the state after graduation for the same number of years that they received the awards. If they don't then the scholarships would convert to student loans.
The tuition plan will cost an estimated $163 million per year. Families making $100,000 or less a year will be able to enroll this upcoming fall. The way to apply is the same way you do for financial aid.