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Governor Cuomo Proposes Free College Tuition for Low and Middle Income CUNY and SUNY Students

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced a proposal to offer free college tuition to State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) students whose families earn $125,000 or less per year. The plan would include community college and four-year college students. Governor Cuomo has proposed a three-year rollout that would start in the fall of 2017 and include students whose families earn up to $100,000 and eventually include students whose families earn up to $125,000 by 2019. The Governor’s office reports that 80 percent of New York state households make $125,000 or less and estimates that 940,000 households throughout the state have college-aged children that would be eligible for the program.

JobsFirstNYC has been working for many years to increase college enrollment and graduation rates for out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in the Bronx through the Bronx Opportunity Network (BON). The vast majority of BON students attend Bronx and Hosts Community Colleges, both of which are schools in the CUNY system. Since its launch, BON has served a total of 490 students. Of these students, 223 have graduated or remained enrolled in college, representing a total success rate of 54 percent, which compares favorably to both CUNY’s overall figures and the rate of a comparison group of demographically and academically similar students at Hostos and Bronx Community Colleges. Additionally, the BON partnership has forged strong relationships with Hostos and Bronx Community Colleges, influencing a host of unprecedented policy reforms at both schools.

We look forward to following the progress of the Governor’s proposal and commend the many ongoing efforts to increase college access and affordability to young adults in New York City.

You can read more about the BON in our November 2016 report.


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