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NY Gov. Cuomo wants to extend state's free college tuition program to illegal immigrants

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo wants to extend the state's free tuition program to include undocumented immigrants. (Michael Jung/Getty Images)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to expand the state’s free college tuition program to include thousands of illegal immigrant students, according to published reports.

Last year, Cuomo helped implement a program that offers free tuition for students who qualify for admission to State University of New York and City University of New York campuses. That program covers all resident students with a family income of up to $110,000, according to Campus Reform, a conservative, higher education news website.

Now, Cuomo’s $168 billion budget proposal for 2019 includes plans to offer the Excelsior Scholarship program to undocumented students as well, the New York Post reported.

Who is eligible?

Under the plan, the state-level DREAM act would allow undocumented immigrants to access to tuition assistance programs and other state scholarships.

“The DREAM Act will give undocumented students access to the new Excelsior Scholarship, the Tuition Assistance Program, as well as other state-administered scholarship,” Cuomo said during his annual Executive Budget Address, according to Campus Reform. The briefing goes on to say that “an investment in young immigrants’ futures is an investment in New York’s future.”

Since 2002, undocumented students have qualified for in-state tuition rates at state-run colleges. Still, "many talented students who graduate from New York high schools remain unable to fulfill their potential simply because they cannot afford the tuition and lack access to tuition assistance to help pay for school," a briefing on the new program states.

How does this benefit New York?

Cuomo calls his plan a "progressive" accomplishment that provides opportunity for middle class New Yorkers.

“The FY 2019 Budget builds on our strong record and continues to move New York forward, by protecting taxpayers against the federal assault, investing in education to support and train the next generation, and implementing bold progressive policies to make New York a more just and fair state for all," he said, Campus Reform reported.

"Together, we will continue to deliver on the promise of progressive government— even while tackling unprecedented challenges head on. We will restore citizen confidence and ensure management competence,” Cuomo said. “This bold agenda charts a path forward toward a better future for all New Yorkers.”

Cuomo on Tuesday also said the state will continue to offer Medicaid to "Dreamers" regardless of any federal changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Campus Reform reported.

One last thing…
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