Cuomo announces free tuition for middle-class families at LaGuardia CC

Under the governor's plan, which requires legislative approval, any college student accepted to a NY public university or two-year community college is eligible, provided his or her family earns less than $125,000. But if it passes, any college student who earns - or whose family earns - $125,000 or less annually will be eligible for free tuition at any public school, including community colleges.

At the LaGuardia Community College in Queens on Tuesday, Cuomo appeared beside Sanders to announce his legislation which would provide college free of charge to qualifying NY residents. 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. Tedisco said. "And that means stay in ny for two or four years, depending upon the degree, and contribute to our economy".

Whether the program gets implemented at all depends on the state legislature's approval. Providing free college tuition had a been a staple issue of the senator's presidential campaign past year, before he lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary R. Clinton in the primary election. It is once again NY leading the way.

Sanders praised the plan as "revolutionary", saying students shouldn't be "punished" with tens of thousands of dollars in debt for seeking higher education. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his first State of the State proposal: making New York State public colleges tuition-free, in his latest apparent effort to burnish his progressive credentials ahead of a possible 2020 presidential run. New York's public schools are owed $4.3 billion in state funding, based on the state's own Foundation Aid formula.

Cuomo did not give details on the financing for the proposal, which has yet to be approved by lawmakers in this state of 20 million people. So a move towards free tuition, would be a widely watched development refocusing attention on an often overlooked component of the student debt crisis: Public colleges. Almost 1 million families would qualify for the program. "There are ways we could go further", he added, noting that the CUNY system already offers a program that pays for books, transportation and other needs of some of its students.

"This is an idea that is not only going to reverberate throughout the state of NY, but throughout the country", Sanders said.

"College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success", Cuomo said Tuesday at LaGuardia Community College in Queens.