New York approved a state budget Sunday that included the Excelsior Scholarship, which will allow students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year to attend state public colleges and universities tuition-free. Coming on the heels of President Barack Obama's 2015 free community college proposal and a Democratic primary that had Sanders and Hillary Clinton constantly talking about student debt, it's the first such plan to cover four-year institutions. Experts also say the program could signal that states will take the lead in the college affordability movement if President Donald Trump doesn't.
"It's not going away as a national issue anytime soon," Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at liberal think tank Demos, tells Newsweek. "If enough states have it on the books, other states will take notice—especially neighboring states—and wonder why their state can't invest in students, as well." [...]