Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative to provide free college tuition for middle class families in New York.

Cuomo made the announcement today alongside U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. The proposal, called the Excelsior Scholarship, looks to make college tuition free at all SUNY and CUNY colleges for families making under $125,000 a year. According to officials, the program is the first of its kind in the nation.

"A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down," Cuomo said. "New York is making a major investment in our greatest asset – our people – and supporting the dreams and ambitions of those who want a better life and are willing to work hard for it."

The Excelsior Scholarship will be phased in over the next three years. The first phase will begin in fall for New Yorkers making up to $100,000 annually, increasing to $110,000 in 2018 and then to $125,000 in 2019. For more information on the proposal visit

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