New York promises tuition-free college if students stay in state

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ALBANY, N.Y. - There's a big string attached to New York's free middle-class college tuition initiative: Students must stay in the state after graduation or else pay back the benefit.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that the requirement was added to protect the state's investment in a student's education by ensuring they don't take advantage of free tuition and then leave New York.

The tuition initiative, which Cuomo says is a national model, covers state college or university tuition for in-state students from families earning $125,000 or less.

Students must remain in New York for as many years as they received the benefit. If they take a job in another state they must pay the money back as a loan.

Republican lawmakers pushed for the requirement during closed-door state budget negotiations.