State lawmaker wants free tuition at SUNY schools

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – A state assemblyman from Orange County is proposing a bill that would allow New Yorkers to attend SUNY and CUNY schools for free.

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Assemblyman James Skoufis

Assemblyman James Skoufis, a democrat from Woodbury, is sponsoring the Tuition-Free NY legislation. The bill would allow all in-state students to attend a state-funded college or university at no cost as long as they commit to a yearly requirement of 125-250 hours of community service and agree to stay in New York for five years after graduation.

Any student who fails to meet the conditions of the tuition-free program would have their benefit turn into a student loan, according to the bill.

Skoufis tells News 4 about one percent of the state’s overall budget would have to be dedicated to making up for the lost tuition revenue, which would add up to approximately $1.5 billion. However, Skoufis says the bill would more than pay for itself by keeping recent college graduates in New York state and generating three billion dollars in community service work.

According to SUNY, the typical in-state undergraduate student who commutes to classes will pay $15,640 in tuition and fees for the 2013-14 academic year. The typical in-state student who lives on campus will pay $22,700, about $10,000 less than an out-of-state student will pay.

At age 26, Skoufis is the youngest member of the state legislature.

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