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Jan 06, 2017 07:04 AM EST

One of the highly anticipated issues during last year's United States' presidential campaign was how the candidates would handle the sky-high costs of college education and the bloated student debt crisis. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had their proposals then and now we wait to see how the Trump administration will move forward.

Last Tuesday at the LaGuardia Community College, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his proposal to offer free tuition for all of New York's public colleges and universities, as reported by Forbes.

Gov. Cuomo is said to have enlisted the help of Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders, who lost the presidential primaries last year have been speaking against the very high cost of college tuition fees and how it has caused collective student debt to surge.

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The proposal will require approval of the state legislature. The plan is for the state to provide free tuition in any of New York's state universities (State University of New York or SUNY), city colleges (City University of New York or CUNY) and community colleges for families that earn less than $125,000 per year.

Tuition will be provided through grants to be known as the Excelsior Scholarship. It would also tap and supplement existing student loan programs like the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) where eligible residents can get $5,000 and above for tuition fees.

New York has the largest public university system in the US and the state spends over $10.6 billion per year on higher education alone. Gov. Cuomo says the program can help 940,000 families and individuals and is estimated to cost about $163 million, though funding details were yet to be disclosed.

The governor said that college education is not a luxury but a necessity if young people were to get a shot at economic mobility which is why the state commits to provide New Yorkers with the opportunity to succeed without being embattled by debt.

If approved, New York will be the first state to offer free college education in all of its public institutions, an action that will make New York a frontrunner of such efforts according to The New York Times.

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