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Educational attainment is one of the key determinants of health. While Latinos have made great strides in attaining greater education – the Latino high school dropout figures are at all-time lows and more are enrolling in two- and four-year universities – there is still a long way to go before they are achieving secondary degrees at the level of whites.
In the state of New York (18.4% Latino population) the dream of attending college just got a lot easier for many. Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a plan for tuition-free college in January and state lawmakers approved the plan mid-April.
For residents who earn up to a specific “income cap,” tuition will be free. The income figure will be determined over the next three years. Starting this fall, however, students whose families earn no more than $100,000 a year and attending the State University of New York or City University of New York will be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship.
According to CNN, those eligible will pay nothing for tuition, which costs $6,470 annually at four-year schools and about $4,350 a year at community colleges. They will still have to pay for the costs of fees and room and board if they live on campus.
Students must take 30 credits a year to earn the scholarship.
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As part of the scholarship, after graduation, students must live and work in New York for the same number of years they received funding.
“Today, college is what high school was – it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.
Currently, Tennessee, Oregon, and the city of San Francisco have introduced free community college tuition for all residents, regardless of income.
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