ALBANY, N.Y. — With high school graduations right around the corner, many students will be making an even bigger jump this fall — heading off to college.
A plan to offer free tuition to SUNY schools is circulating in the state assembly.
The proposal is called Tuition-Free NY, and on Friday, State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara discussed the program at Schenectady County Community College.
According to Santabarbara, the plan would provide free tuition for instate students at SUNY schools if, once they graduate, they stay in the empire state for the next five years and perform a minimum of 250 hours of community service each year.
Students enrolled in a designated science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) degree program would have a reduced community service requirement of 125 hours.
“The skyrocketing cost of college is pushing higher education out of reach for many working families,” the assemblyman said. “We need to change the equation so students can afford the higher education they need to land a good job after graduation.”
Santabarbara said the cost of attending college has risen almost four times faster than median incomes over the past 20 years. He said about 60 percent of students graduate with debt averaging over $25,000.
Tuition-Free NY is aimed at helping eradicate the student debt crisis by covering tuition costs in full.