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Experts: NY Free-College Model Positive, Not Perfect

While the state of New York’s new “tuition-free college” program may pave the way for similar and broader programs throughout the country, the way the program is structured makes it so that it will benefit the middle class and do nothing for low-income students.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office never pretended anything else, announcing over the weekend that the program will “provide tuition-free college to middle class families.”

Nevertheless, advocates and policy experts say the Excelsior Scholarship program — being included in New York state’s fiscal 2018 budget agreement — represents an important first step toward making college more affordable.

The program makes attendance at New York state’s public universities — CUNY and SUNY institutions — tuition free for families that make $125,000 a year or less.