New York budget deal calls for free tuition at public colleges

A massive financial burden could be lifted for up to a million New Yorkers.

New York State will be the first in the nation to offer free college tuition to middle-class students.

“It is exploratory. It's a different model. It says what we thought of high school 50 years ago, is the way you should think of college now. Why do we have free public high school? Because we made the determination as society that you needed high school. You needed it to succeed and you needed it as a society," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The deal has worked out in state budget that was passed Friday night. Governor Andrew Cuomo first announced his plan for free college tuition back in January alongside Senator Bernie Sanders at La Guardia Community College.

Senator Sanders pushed for free tuition at all public colleges across the country during his presidential campaign.

Students whose parents make $125,000 a year or less and are accepted full time to any 2 or four-year city or state university will qualify. They have to maintain sufficient grades and residency requirements.

About 940,000 families would be eligible for the program once it’s fully implemented in 2019. The initiative will be phased in over three years.  Families making $100,000 or less a year will be able to enroll this upcoming fall semester.

Not only students and families are applauding the program, Hillary Clinton also tweeted her praise for the program, “let's celebrate New York State getting something important done that we wanted to do nationally. A great step for progressives." 

The program won't cover room and board. The state budget has also put aside $19 million dollars for tuition for students at private colleges.