U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Joins Governor for Announcement at LaGuardia Community College

First-in-the-Nation Program Provides Free Tuition to New Yorkers Making Up to $125,000 Per Year at all SUNY and CUNY Two- and Four-Year Colleges

Groundbreaking Initiative Makes New York State Public Universities Tuition-Free, Alleviating Crushing Burden of Student Loans and Placing More New Yorkers on Path to Financial Security

New Excelsior Scholarships Program Encourages More Students to Graduate On Time, Helping to Improve Graduation Rates at New York Public Colleges

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, today unveiled the 1st signature proposal of his 2017 agenda: making college tuition-free for New York’s middle class families at all SUNY and CUNY two- and four-year colleges. New York’s tuition-free college degree program, the Excelsior Scholarship, is the first of its kind in the nation and will help alleviate the crushing burden of student debt while enabling thousands of bright young students to realize their dream of higher education.

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Under this groundbreaking proposal, more than 940,000 middle class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year would qualify to attend college tuition-free at all public universities in New York State. The Excelsior Scholarship program will ensure that students statewide, regardless of their socio-economic status, have the opportunity to receive a quality education and gain the skills they need to succeed in our global economy.

“A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is making a major investment in our greatest asset – our people – and supporting the dreams and ambitions of those who want a better life and are willing to work hard for it. I am honored to have the support of Senator Sanders, who led the way on making college affordability a right, and I know that together we can make this a reality with New York leading the way once again.”