College tuition on the way for gold star families

Governor will bypass legislature to expand tuition after public criticism

Mike Baggerman
April 18, 2019 - 1:48 pm

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Republicans in the New York State Senate renewed an effort to give gold star families access to free tuition at state colleges after widespread criticism over the decision by Assembly democrats to block a bill doing so...but adding free college tuition to families of those who are in New York illegally.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said he plans to expand access to gold star families under the MERIT scholarship statute.

"After a lot of bad press for several days, the governor announced that he doesn't think they actually need to pass legislation," State Senator Rob Ortt told WBEN. "They can do this. He can direct the state agency that directs the scholarship to simply make room for this expansion for the families."

President Trump last Friday criticized state lawmakers for blocking a bill to expand college tuition to gold star families after approving aid for illegal immigrants.

"No question when the president tweets about it, it's going to become more public," Ortt said.

Ortt said he thinks the bill, if it has to go through the legislative process, can pass. Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, a member of the Veteran's Affairs committee, said that she supports the measure. Democratic Assemblywoman Karen McMahon supported the bill, even though it failed in the committee process.

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