New York lawmakers have approved Governor Cuomo’s tuition free legislation. As a result, starting this fall, New York residents with less than $100,000 in family income will be able to attend any two-year or four-year public college in the state. The income cap rises to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.
Students still must pay for books and other fees. They must remain in New York for the same number of years as the years they received tuition funding. The students must also maintain a GPA that allows them to graduate on time. Finally, there is no sliding scale for families with incomes above the cap and it’s possible the higher-income families could face tuition increases. (The legislation gives the colleges that option.)
The early results are in and the City University of New York (CUNY) system is reporting record applicants already. So far the system has seen an increase of 11.1 percent resulting in 50,546 students. These new students appear to be taking full loads (15 or more semester hours) and there has been a 10 percent increase in students taking more than 15 semester hours. (New York’s Excelsior Scholarship program requires participants to complete at least 30 hours each year and maintain a GPA that will allow them to graduate on time.) The CUNY four-year tuition rate is currently $6,530 per year.