New York to become first state with tuition-free college

In order for students to be eligible for this tuition break, their family income would need to be less than $125,000 a year.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – College education without the cost? Well, it’s becoming a reality for middle class students in New York.

That state has passed legislation that will allow in-state middle class college students to go to school at a two or four-year state school without the cost of tuition.

In order for students to be eligible for this tuition break, their family income would need to be less than $125,000 a year.

“Some people don’t have that kind of money, and some scholarships don’t cover everything plus there’s dorm and all those fees, you’ve got books that you have to pay,” said William Le, a college student at WNEU.

This tuition break will only cover tuition. Students will still be responsible for text books, room and board, and other additional costs.

Similar proposals have been considered, but never passed here in Massachusetts, and with the state’s current budget, it might not happen anytime soon.

“I just don’t know if we can afford it, frankly. It certainly makes sense, if we could do it, it would be great. Education is critically important, but on the same token, we need to continue what we need to do in the budget. We’ve got to prioritize and we need to make sure we know where we can go,” said State Rep. Angelo Puppolo (D-Springfield).

In New York, the cost of the tuition plan, which is an estimated $163 million, has been worked into the state budget. That would cover about 25,000 students who attend a four-year school, but an estimated 200,000 students would be eligible.