Waiting for state budget details on tuition-free college proposal

Jan 17, 2017

Funding details of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tuition-free plan for state colleges and universities could be revealed Tuesday when he issues his proposed state budget plan. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul is working to promote Governor Cuomo's college tuition-free plan for New Yorkers. WBFO's Senior Reporter Eileen Buckley caught up with her to ask questions about this proposed plan. 

Lt. Governor Hochul was one of the speakers at a Martin Luther King Scholarship celebration in Buffalo Monday. The event promoted the importance of education.

Lt. Governor Hochul was one of the speakers at a Martin Luther King Scholarship celebration in Buffalo Monday.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Hochul is asking for the community's support as the Governor proposed plan, where students from eligible families earning $125,000 or less could attend college for free.

WBFO News asked Hochul when we will hear more specifics about how the state would finance this plan.

“The Governor is working on the budget as we speak and it will be announced in a matter of days, perhaps hours,” replied Hochul. 

The tuition-free plan must go before state lawmakers for review and approval.

“The legislature needs to realize that there are social costs to not educating these young people. What we are talking about are people who are in that specter, where they don’t qualify enough for all the aid that’s out there for the lowest income,” explained Hochul.

State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo attended Monday's MLK event.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

WBFO asked State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo what she wants to know about this idea.   

“I think it’s a great plan and you know that proposal brings up a lot of questions,” responded Peoples-Stokes. “I think we have to ask the questions. Get them answered and figure out how to make them a reality.”

The leaders say the time has come to offer students in New York a chance to attend college without building enormous loan debt, which is already the highest in the nation.

“We are now paying to the tune of $1.3 trillion dollars in debt – our students are. When they graduate with $30,000 in debt minimum, on average – they’re supposed to be to start a business, buy a home, get out of their parents’ house – it’s impossible,” Hochul remarked.