Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today kicked off the Excelsior Scholarship Campaign touring SUNY and CUNY campuses to make college tuition free for middle-class families across New York. At a rally at Buffalo State University with a crowd of over 600 students and local supporters, Western New York leaders including Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, Mayor Brown and County Executive Mark Poloncarz endorsed the Governor’s plan to make college possible for New York families making under $125,000 per year. Approximately 80 percent or 68,712 Western New York families would qualify to attend SUNY or CUNY tuition free under the Governor’s bold proposal.

As part of the new campaign, the Governor is also deploying Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and cabinet members to meet with students and faculty at SUNY and CUNY Campuses statewide in support of the first-ever free tuition plan at both two- and four-year colleges. The Governor also announced New York State will host the first ever statewide coding competition for SUNY and CUNY students at all campuses, the "Making College Possible Coding Challenge.”  The challenge will encourage students to use technology to share information about the Excelsior Scholarship.
 
“In New York, education was always the great equalizer, but today far too many young people have been deprived of the advanced degree they need to get ahead, compete in the global economy, and secure the jobs of tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Empire State is sending a message loud and clear that under the Excelsior Scholarship program students’ dreams of higher education will be realized no matter how much money is in their pocket or the neighborhood they come from. We are at a time of transformation – and New York will be the first in the nation to enact free tuition for middle-class families and move our economy forward. So to the Senate and Assembly I say, pass this plan and the rest of the country will follow.”