By Alayna Snedden
New York has passed a new program allowing students, who are New York residents, to attend public college tuition free. Due to the interest in free college rising, states across the nation are beginning to consider offering free public college to the working class and some of the middle class.
“In New York that seems fair but I think we should have it everywhere,” sophomore Kaylin Martinez said. “I think it can be a very good thing.”
The free public tuition program is called the Excelsior Scholarship Program. According to NBC News, the new program will be rolled out in tiers over the next three years. Students interested will also have to meet specific requirements.
“[It should be] easier for students because many people need all the help they can get to receive a higher education,” Martinez said.
Some requirements to enter the new program include residency and income of less than $100,000 per year. On the other hand, there is no capacity for the amount of students who can take part in the scholarship program.
“Today college is what high school was—it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said to NBC News.
Over time, the annual income will increase to allow for more tuition assistance. It will increase to $110,000 per year in 2018 and increase again to $125,000 in 2019.
“New York is expensive so people who make less money should be able to get into college for free,” sophomore Kaelyn Rose Miranda said.
According to NBC News, states like California and Georgia have grant and scholarship programs but only New York has minimal requirements for free tuition. The budget for this program is a record $7.5 billion for higher education, which is only a 6.3 percent increase since 2016.
“I think it would be good for them to join because free college is great for bettering our society,” senior Connor Gardner said.