Starting this fall, SUNY students whose families make less than $100,000 per year will be able to attend college tuition free.
That's music to the ears of SUNY Student Assembly President Marc Cohen.
"We're excited that more people are going to be able to attain a world class education tuition-free if needed," Cohen said.
The Excelsior Scholarship will be open to even more people over the next two years, with $125,000 being the threshold in 2019.
Cohen says while it is a great idea, it's not enough.
"We need funding for childcare, we need money for EOP (Educational Opportunity Program), we need money for room and board, textbook affordability and health care," Cohen said.
Private colleges will receive a lot less aid with the new state budget. D'Youville College Vice President of Institutional Advancement Kathleen Christy says she was hoping for more parity.
"There was $19 million invested in the enhanced tuition program that they created for privates. That equates to about 6,300 students statewide. That will make it very hard and very competitive for this small pot of money for all students that want to access it," Christy said.
Christy says while the Excelsior program will make it more attractive for some to attend a SUNY school, she doesn't believe it will negatively affect enrollment at D'Youville.
"The foundation of this institution is our health care programs, which are extremely strong, they're very much in demand. Students know when they come here, they will be well-educated and well-prepared to go out into the workforce, and 100 percent of them are employed when they graduate," Christy said.
Christy adds that D'Youville's fees, including room and board, compare favorably with SUNY schools.
Cohen says he and other school leaders will be vigilant to make sure those costs aren't raised to offset the free tuition.