Morrisville State College president Dr. David E. Rogers witnessed history Wednesday after attending Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signing of the 2018 New York State budget, which included legislation enacting the groundbreaking Excelsior Scholarship.
The Excelsior Scholarship, first of its kind in the nation, will provide tuition-free scholarship to in-state residents at New York’s public universities. The new program will be phased in over three years and begin this fall for New York families making up to $100,000, before increasing to $110,000 in 2018 and reaching $125,000 in 2019.
Rogers was one of three SUNY presidents who attended the event, held at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport.
“Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship program will foster increased investment in the very knowledge and skills required to support New York’s dynamic and evolving economy,” Rogers said.
New York’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget agreement, which provides a record $7.5 billion to support higher education, includes $8 million to fund open educational resources for SUNY and CUNY students to help defray the cost of textbooks.
“By providing tuition-free college to thousands of middle-class New Yorkers, we are restoring the promise of the American Dream for the next generation and forging a bold path forward of access and opportunity for the rest of the nation to follow,” Cuomo said through a press release. “With a college education now a necessity to succeed in today’s economy, I am proud to sign this first-in-the-nation legislation that will make college accessible, strengthen the middle class, and build a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”
Under the Excelsior Scholarship, nearly 80 percent, or 940,000 middle-class New York families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year, qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year colleges.
“This program will enhance access and reduce debt and make a college education more attractive and achievable for potential students and their families,” Rogers said. “As a SUNY institution with a focus on applied learning and career readiness, Morrisville State College continues to prepare New York’s next generation of global leaders and innovators.”