"Free tuition" seems like an unfulfilled campaign promise, one that was once championed by two former Democratic presidential candidates, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Yet just this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) pushed that idea a step closer to reality, launching a new plan that would pay college tuition costs for in-state students at both 2 year and 4 year state universities. This week, legislators began debating the cost of a plan Cuomo says will cost $163 million.
The governor's office estimates that while one million families will be eligible, the number of students receiving free tuition by 2019 will be about 200,000.
If it passes, the "Excelsior Scholarship" could start this fall. Initially, students with family income below $100,000 would be eligible. That number would increase to $110,000 next year, and $125,000 in 2019.
In an interview with CNBC's "On The Money", Sara Goldrick-Rab, an education and sociology professor at Temple University, said this program could help make college more affordable for students across income levels.
"I do think this plan will help and one reason certainly is that the middle class would finally would get some financial assistance they so desperately need," Goldrick-Rab added.