Report

As Cuomo Proposal Rekindles Free College Movement, New Research Provides Ammunition for Skeptics
Brookings Institution

In early January, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced his intention to make a public college education tuition-free for most students in the state. The proposal has breathed life back into the free college movement, which supporters feared would lose momentum under the incoming presidential administration. Instead, momentum has simply relocated (back) to the state level. Tennessee and Oregon already have their own “free college” initiatives, and just this week, Governor Gina Raimondo proposed a version for Rhode Island.

Cuomo’s plan, however, would be the first to make up to four years of college tuition-free, not just the first two years at community colleges. It would do this by covering the gap between tuition and existing financial aid (not including mandatory fees) for full-time students from families earning less than $125,000 per year, who have not exceeded their program’s designated time to completion.