ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Cuomo announced Wednesday that Gold Star families will be able to receive free college tuition and room and board at SUNY and CUNY schools. This comes after a state assembly bill was voted down in committee, sparking nationwide attention.
“There is now a new question,” stated Governor Andrew Cuomo. “As to whether those benefits should be expanded to cover those who are lost or disabled while performing their military duties while either in a combat zone or not. My answer is, of course, yes they should.”
To do this, the governor is expanding an existing program that offers free tuition for family members of those in the military killed while out on the battlefield or in training. It is now expanded to families of any service members killed, lost, or disabled while preforming any military duty.
This comes after backlash from republicans. In the recently passed New York State budget, democrats set aside $27 million dollars for children of undocumented immigrants to receive free college tuition. However, the free tuition for Gold Star families was voted down.
On Friday, President Trump tweeted, “In New York State, Democrats blocked a bill expanding college tuition for Gold Star families after approving aid for illegal immigrants. No wonder so many people are leaving N.Y. Very Sad!”
“This is not a partisan issue,” stated Assemblyman Dan Stec. “I’ve run into a lot of my liberal friends who say I can’t believe they held that bill.”
Assembly republicans, including Stec, have been posting petitions on social media to gain more support from their constituents. Those efforts paid off on Wednesday.
“We want this benefit for our veteran’s families,” explained Stec. “For our Gold Star families.”