BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Students across New York State may be getting some much needed relief from the rising costs of higher education.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to make college tuition free for nearly one million middle class families through the Excelsior Scholarship program.
It is welcome news for some at SUNY Buffalo State.
"I think paying for a college education is really difficult right now. A lot of students at Buff State are going through financial aid and through ways to finance their education. I think getting the word [out] and having scholarships is a great way for students to be able to pay for an education, to be able to get better jobs and to be able to have a brighter future," said SUNY Buffalo State Graduate Student Bryan Diesenberg.
The scholarship program is the first in the nation to offer free tuition at two and four-year state colleges.
Cuomo hopes the program will help alleviate the burden of financial stress, hefty student loans and increase college graduation rates.
"I'm working a minimum wage job trying pay for college, trying to finance my education. So, it's just difficult," said Diesenberg.
"Personally, I have thousands of dollars [in] debt and I just hope that the situation becomes better for the students graduating in these upcoming years," said recent graduate Jordan Weaver.
Getting a college education can be overwhelming financially. Even for some tax payers footing the bill, free tuition makes sense.
"Europe has free schools all across their continent and it would probably be worth it to pull people up to education levels across the board. It would benefit the economy in such a way that maybe it would lower taxes in other areas," said resident William Hobbs.
"It's about time they get the help that they need, to be able to help pay off their student loans and tuitions," said resident Frankie Hancock.
The Excelsior Scholarship program would be phased in over a three-year period for families who make up to $125,000 per year.
It will be funded by the Tuition Assistance Program, federal grants and state funds.