The 2018 New York State Budget approved on Friday has allowed for SUNY and CUNY colleges to be tuition free for qualifying families.
The budget allows for an increase in Education Aid by $1.1 billion, bringing the new Education Aid total to $25.8 billion.
The program provides free tuition to families making up to $125,000 per year, and nearly 940,000 New York families are eligible for the program.
The new initiative will be phased in over three years, beginning for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually in the fall of 2017, increasing to $110,000 in 2018, and reaching $125,000 in 2019.
New Yorkers must be enrolled in college full-time, averaging 30 credits per year and completing their degree on-time. The program includes built in flexibility, allowing students to pause and restart the program, due to a hardship, or take fewer credits one semester than another.
Students must also maintain a grade point average necessary for the successful completion of their coursework.
As the cost of textbooks can be prohibitively expensive, the Budget also invests $8 million to provide open educational resources, including electronic-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY.
At the state’s direction, SUNY and CUNY will use this funding to target high-enrollment courses, including general education, to maximize student savings.