Hillary: NY free tuition plan a 'great step for progressives'

New York just became the first state to give residents free tuition at 4-year and 2-year public colleges.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimates that the plan will cost $163 million in its first year, but a previous report found that making tuition free just for NYC community colleges would cost up to $232 million per year.

New York just became the first state to give residents free tuition at 4-year and 2-year public colleges.

The plan was first introduced by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in January and made its way into the state budget last week, passing the Assembly on Saturday and the Senate late Sunday night, CNN Money reports.

[RELATED: Cuomo and Sanders team up to announce free-college proposal]

The bill guarantees free tuition to families making no more than $100,000 a year, with the income cap increasing to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.

Eligible students would not have to pay tuition at any school in the State University of New York (SUNY) or City University of New York (CUNY) systems, which costs $6,470 per year at four-year schools and $4,350 per year at community colleges, but would still have to pay for room and board and other fees.

[RELATED: REPORT: ‘Free’ community college would cost NYC up to $232 million per year]

The free tuition comes with some important stipulations: students must be enrolled full-time, and graduates must live and work in New York for the same number of years they received the scholarship. If the graduate leaves the state early, the funding is converted into a loan.

Governor Cuomo’s office estimated that the program would cost $163 million in its first year, in addition to the $1 billion that the state already spends on need-based scholarships.

Cuomo touted the plan on Twitter, crowing that “Our plan for free college tuition for families under $125K shows the difference that responsible government makes.”

[RELATED: Free tuition useless without K-12 reform, educator argues]

Hillary Clinton, who previously served as a U.S. Senator from New York, called the passage of the plan a “great step for progressives” in a tweet of her own.

“Let's celebrate New York State getting something important done that we wanted to do nationally,” Clinton declared. “A great step for progressives.”

[RELATED: CA Dems propose free tuition funded by tax on millionaires]

However, a number of responses were more critical of the plan, including those suspicious of the $125,000 income cap and others questioning the use of the word “free.”

“Must be nice for a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth to draw the line at 125,” one twitter user said. “Punishing mild success & rewarding mediocrity.”

“nothing is free...time to consider leaving this overtaxed state,” another complained.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey