Governor Andrew Cuomo was met by high school students and Buffalo State students to kick off the first stop of his statewide tuition tour.
Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced a plan that would provide free tuition for students at state-funded schools whose families make less than $125,000 annually.
This plan would cost the state $163 million this year, which critics say is money the state can't afford. In response, Cuomo says, "I think we can't afford not to do it, otherwise the economy will pass us by." He also addressed critics who say the plan is unfair to private colleges. "We don't subsidize private high schools. We have public high schools." Cuomo says his free tuition plan, called the Excelsior Scholarship, could cause private colleges to lower their tuition to compete, creating more accessible tuition rates.
— Thuy Lan Nguyen (@ThuyLanWKBW) February 7, 2017
One student in attendance, Nairobi Lazo, says she supports the governor's plan. Lazo, from Queens, had to take a semester off and work three jobs in order to pay tuition. She says while she may not immediately benefit from Cuomo's free tuition plan, she's encouraged to know that her younger brother may in the future.
Cuomo was unavailable for questions after. The question of where the $163 million would come from is still unclear.