Roughly 22,000 students will receive free tuition at New York state’s public colleges and universities through a new scholarship program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced Sunday.
Of the 45,000 to qualify for the first round of the recently implemented Excelsior Scholarship, a little less than half will have their tuition covered through the program, the governor’s office said. Another 23,000 will have their tuition covered through New York state's Tuition Assistance Program, Pell grants and other financial aid.
The 22,000 Excelsior beneficiaries aligns with the state’s projections for the first year of the program, the governor’s office said.
The combination of the Excelsior Scholarship, Pell and TAP will allow 210,000 New York state residents to attend state public universities tuition-free, the governor’s office said, or roughly 53 percent of full-time in-state students.
The Excelsior Scholarship was introduced earlier this year, and makes state public universities tuition-free for families making up to $125,000 a year. However, families making up to $100,000 qualified this year as the program is phased in.
Applications were open from mid-June until July 21. New York state residents planning to attend State University of New York or City University of New York institutions full time were eligible to apply.
Advocates of the program have praised it for its promise of free tuition to students who may not otherwise be able to afford it, and for providing a blueprint for other states to follow.
Skeptics have pointed to a residency requirement that forces recipients to live in New York state for the same number of years they received the scholarship, or they will have to pay the funding back.