Bernie Sanders Makes A Thrilling Prediction About New York's Tuition-Free College Proposal

Could NY be the first to realize Sanders' dream of free public higher education in the U.S.?

New York is on pace to start the year on a forward-looking note, with a tuition-free college proposal that could make it the first state to realize Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' dream of free public higher education in the U.S. In a press conference at a community college in Queens on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced alongside Sanders a roughly drawn proposal to eliminate college tuition at all of New York's state universities for families and individuals making $125,000 or less annually.

"If you want to offer everyone a fair shot, you have to get up to date and say, 'What high school was 75 years ago, college is today,'" Cuomo told the crowd in attendance. "The way society said, 'We're going to pay for high school because you need high school,' this society should say, 'We're going to pay for college because you need college.'"

Cuomo credited Sanders with his tuition-free college bill from May 2015 as the senator geared up his presidential bid. "It is a national disgrace that hundreds of thousands of young Americans today do not go to college, not because they are unqualified, but because they cannot afford it," Sanders said in a statement last year the announcing the bill. "This is absolutely counter-productive to our efforts to create a strong competitive economy and a vibrant middle class. This disgrace has got to end."

Though he was an early supporter of his primary rival, Hillary Clinton, Cuomo now praised Sanders for being "ahead of his time." Cuomo's version of the tuition-free proposal is dubbed the Excelsior Scholarship.

Sanders, who is enjoying a high profile as a champion of the progressive left after his defeat to Clinton, has vowed to fight President-elect Donald Trump's bigoted and anti-environment policies. On Tuesday, he gave a rousing speech envisioning the significance of Cuomo's embrace of a tuition-free college education. 

"Here is a prediction that I make," Sanders said about the proposal, "If New York state does it this year, mark my words — state after state will follow."

Cover image via Diego G Diaz / Shutterstock.com

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