NY Gov. Cuomo proposes plan offering free college tuition

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposed program that would allow free tuition for some students attending a school like UAlbany.

He says the excelsior scholarship program would open the door to higher education for nearly a million middle-class families.

Meghan Donnelly recently transferred from Hudson valley community college to SUNY Canton to pursue a nursing degree.

She says she started out at HVCC to save money.

“I thought it would just be the cheaper way to go. And that if I got into a nursing program at a community college that I wouldn’t be so in debt.”

She picked a SUNY school for the affordability too.

“I would be really happy if someone told me that it would make everything a lot easier and a lot cheaper.”

And that’s exactly what the governor wants to do.

“College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success,” Gov. Cuomo said.

He announced his proposed excelsior scholarship program which would allow people in families making $125,000 or less to get a two or three-year degree at a SUNY or CUNY schools for free.

“Because your success is our success, that’s the American Dream. The American Dream lives in the state of New York and no one is taking it away.”

He was joined by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who was adamant that New York could be a leader in this trend.

“If New York State does it this year mark my words state after state will follow.”

Right now Donnelly pays for her tuition, books, and housing through several student loans. When asked what goes through her mind when she thinks about paying that money back.

“I think I’m going to be really broke. It’s going to be really hard but I’m depending on having a really good job at that point to be able to pay off those bills. I’m probably going to have to be living at home for a while.”

Of course, this proposal still has to go through the legislature before it can happen.