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New York governor proposes free tuition plan at state colleges

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed free tuition at the state’s public colleges for students from low- and middle-income families on Tuesday, seizing on an idea that became a rallying cry for many Democrats in last year’s presidential election.

Under Cuomo’s plan, which he called the first of its kind in the nation, the state would cover tuition for any student from a family earning less than $125,000 a year by 2019, a means-tested benchmark that coincided with one proposed by Hillary Clinton in her failed presidential bid.

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“College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success,” the Democratic governor said as he announced the plan, which requires approval by the state’s legislature. Cuomo is widely seen as a potential future presidential candidate.

About 70 percent of jobs in the state now required a college education, he said. He described graduating with thousands of dollars of debt as “like a starting a race with an anchor tied to your leg.”

The cost of higher education and the burden of student debt emerged as a major issue in the race between Clinton and Bernie Sanders to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 2016.

Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont and a Brooklyn native, joined Cuomo for the announcement at the LaGuardia Community College in the New York City borough of Queens, and he repurposed familiar talking points from his campaign.

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“The Democrats and Republicans and independents understand that technology has changed, the global economy has changed,” he said to a crowd of Queens students who had been chanting his name minutes earlier. He said a college degree was virtually mandatory in a way that a high-school diploma had been in previous decades.

From the start of his presidential campaign in 2015, Sanders promised to make tuition free for everyone who attends state colleges. The promise helped draw huge crowds of young people to his campaign rallies and pressured Clinton, who was promising in less sweeping terms only to reduce student debt, from the left.

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After Clinton had all but secured the party’s nomination last summer, she announced a means-tested variant of the Sanders plan last July in what was seen in part as a gesture toward bringing the party’s more liberal, left-leaning flank back into the fold.

For undergraduate students who hail from New York, tuition for a bachelor’s degree costs $6,470 per year at the State University of New York’s colleges, and $6,330 per year at the City University of New York’s four-year colleges. Other expenses such as room and board, which can cost up to $12,590 at SUNY colleges, would not be covered under the plan.

Cuomo said his proposed Excelsior Scholarship would cost about $163 million a year, although he did not specify how the state would cover this cost. He said it would potentially benefit some 940,000 families with college-age children in the state.

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(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Dick Cheney raising money for Trump’s re-election — with White House staffers Ivanka and Jared: report

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney is raising money for President Donald Trump's re-election at a fundraiser in a ritzy western resort town.

"Former vice president Richard B. Cheney and his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are to appear at a lunch fundraiser Monday in support of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to an invitation to the event," The Washington Post reported Saturday. "The luncheon fundraiser in Jackson, Wyo., will feature White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as 'special guests,' according to the invitation, which was obtained by The Washington Post."

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2020 Election

‘He believes he’s a king and a dictator’: Ex-GOP congressman backs impeaching ‘unfit conman’ Trump

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President Donald Trump was blasted on MSNBC on Saturday by a former Republican congressman for being an "unfit conman."

Rev. Al Sharpton interviewed former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) about a recent New York Times op-ed he wrote calling for Trump to face a primary challenge from the right.

"There’s a strong case for President Trump to face a Republican primary challenger," Walsh wrote. "I know a thing or two about insurgencies. I entered Congress in 2011 as an insurgent Tea Party Republican."

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2020 Election

Heather Heyer’s mom says things have gotten worse since Charlottesville — but she has a solution

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CNN's Ana Cabrera on Saturday interviewed Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer. Her daughter was murdered by a white nationalist terrorist during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

"When you watch what’s happening in Portland, thankfully everything right now is peaceful, but does it sort of give you that knee-jerk reaction where your hackles kind of go up, just given everything your family has been through?" Cabrera asked.

"My hackles don’t really go down anymore," Bro replied. "I am constantly tracking these things around the country as they happen. Yeah, I think after two years ago, mine will never completely go down again."

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