New York state has passed legislation that would create the largest experiment in the country to offer free tuition at two- and four-year colleges. The Excelsior Scholarship, approved over the weekend as part of the state budget, would cover full-time students in the State University of New York system, which totals 64 campuses and 1.3 million students.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, appeared with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and state education leaders in an event hailing the new program, which would begin this fall and is estimated to cost $163 million per year.
Students from families making up to $100,000 a year would be eligible in the program's first year, and by the third year that would increase to $125,000 a year.
It's a big step forward in a national trend: In the last decade, 85 states and municipalities have created similar scholarship programs, most of them for community college tuition. And the idea got plenty of airing in last year's presidential election, when it was championed first by Sanders and then Hillary Clinton.
Still, now that free public college is closer to being a reality, the cheerleading is accompanied by nitpicking among some college affordability advocates. Here are some "catches" in the New York state plan.
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