Assemblyman Santabarbara to Host Informational Event on Proposed Tuition-Free NY Plan
Legislation would provide free tuition to in-state students at SUNY schools

April 24, 2014

Assemblyman Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) is fighting for legislation that would provide free tuition to all New York students at SUNY schools (A.8585). The proposed tuition-free program would require students to fulfill community service and residency requirements. Assemblyman Santabarbara is hosting two community meetings, to be held at FMCC and SCCC, to explain the initiative in further detail.

"The skyrocketing cost of college is pushing higher education out of reach for many working families," said Assemblyman Santabarbara. "We need to change the equation so students can afford the higher education they need to land a good job after graduation."

The cost of attending college has risen almost four times faster than median incomes over the past 20 years, making college unaffordable for millions of New Yorkers. About 60 percent of students graduate with debt averaging over $25,000, and many leave school with much higher debt1.

Assemblyman Santabarbara is fighting to make graduating from college debt free a reality for our students. The Tuition-Free NY plan is aimed at helping eradicate the student debt crisis by covering tuition costs in full.

Under the proposed plan, students would be required to perform a minimum of 250 hours of community service each year to be eligible. Students enrolled in a designated science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) degree program would have a reduced community service requirement of 125 hours. Additionally, students would be required to live and work in the state for a period of at least five years following graduation.

Tuition-Free NY would encourage participants to give back to the community while they receive a quality higher education. After graduation, it would allow them take advantage of the numerous career opportunities right in our own backyard, Assemblyman Santabarbara noted.

Assemblyman Santabarbara will discuss the details of the proposed program at:

  • Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC) on Monday, April 28, at noon in the campus theater; and
  • Schenectady County Community College (SCCC) on Friday, May 2, at 11:20 a.m. in the Stockade 101 Lecture Hall.

"Tuition-Free NY would provide an avenue for students to pursue their college education debt-free," said Dustin Swanger, Ed.D, President of Fulton-Montgomery Community College. "At the same time, it would encourage students to give back to their communities through volunteer service and follow career paths into many of the fields that are driving the 21st century economy."

"Every student should have access to a quality higher education and all the career opportunities that come with a college degree," said Dr. Martha J. Asselin, Acting President of Schenectady County Community College. "The Tuition-Free NY plan would be a big step toward making college affordable for in-state students and helping retain many of New York's best and brightest who otherwise might pursue their educations elsewhere."

Also joining Assemblyman Santabarbara at the presentation will be Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury), author of the Tuition-Free NY legislation.