Once the Excelsior Program is fully implemented in 2019, Buffalo State College Admissions officials said about 90 percent of students will qualify for tuition free college.
David Agosto's son, Jason is eyeing Buffalo State College once he graduates from high school. “He's interested in the sciences, criminal justice, stuff along those lines,” Agosto explained.
Agosto said money is tight and still his son will not qualify for the governor's Excelsior Program because he and his wife make more than $100,000 a year. “The middle class is getting wiped out. It only helps to be dirt poor or ultimately very wealthy.”
Still, a majority of students at Buffalo State will qualify. To do so, students must also have lived in New York for at least one year.
It will also cover students currently enrolled in a state school. “Those students will be eligible starting this fall,” explained Buffalo State College Associate Admissions Director, Dean Reinhart.
According to Buffalo State Senator Tim Kennedy, the program doesn't account for any tax increase. “This is a $163 million dollar program that was built in to a $153 billion dollar budget. So, it's a very small piece of funding that's going to have an enormous impact across the state,” he said.
We've also learned you must maintain a 2.0 GPA to remain tuition free.
It's still unknown where and how students will apply. “Once we have those answers...we have most of the data that we know is who would possibly be eligible I assume we'll start communicating with those students in the next couple of weeks.” Reinhart said.
After graduation, students will have to stay in New York for as many years as they receive free tuition. If they take a job in another state, they’ll have to pay the money back as a loan.
All sounds appealing to parents like David Agosto who is disappointed his son won't qualify. For his family, going to college is a must. If you have an education, you have choices. If you don’t, you’re limited and I don't want my children to be limited.”