Critics worry this provision could undermine New York’s free college plan

New York has been hailed as a progressive state leading others for passing a budget that makes college tuition free for middle-class students.

But a provision inserted into the final version of the plan has even some cheerleaders of New York’s original free college proposal — from earlier this year — alarmed. Students who take the state up on the offer to pay for their schooling will have to live and work in New York after graduation for at least as long as they received the free tuition. Otherwise, the so-called free college turns into a loan.

“If you want to have your ‘live and work’ requirement, you can have it, but you can’t call it free college,” said Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor at Temple University.

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