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State Sen. Carlucci urges students to apply for free college tuition

The deadline for students across New York State to apply for Governor Cuomo's Excelsior Scholarship is one week away

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State studies show that about 80 percent of New York's students are eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship for free college tuition.

The application deadline is just a week away and State Senator David Carlucci is urging students to action:

"We want to make sure that economics is not a barrier to higher education and the Excelsior Scholarship is a great opportunity and we want to make sure that all students who want to seek that opportunity have that advantage and take advantage of that scholarship, which the cut-off time is July 21st."

Friday, Senator Carlucci was joined by young advocates for the free-tuition program. East Ramapo High School junior Jacqueline Johnson says many of her classmates have struggling families and college didn't seem like an option for them.

"I go to East Ramapo and many of the students (and) their parents will not be able to afford college for them so they don't even think about going to college,” said Johnson. “So now that this scholarship is available, so many people are excited for it.”

Brendan McKearney's dad is a teacher in the East Ramapo School District. He's working with Senator Carlucci to help students his age get the help needed to apply.

"Many of them can't afford college but also fail to go to these programs for the scholarships,” said McKearney. “And I feel like this, we have to advocate for them to go out there and apply for these scholarships."

The first-in-the-nation program would provide tuition-free college at SUNYs and CUNYs for families that make $125,000 per year or less. In the Hudson Valley, that's apparently 63 percent of families with college-age students.

Again, the deadline is Friday, July 21st. To learn more about applying, visit www.hesc.ny.gov.

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