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Backed by Bernie Sanders, this governor's plan for free college could be a game-changer.

"Other countries have already done it. It's time this country catches up."

Backed by Bernie Sanders, this governor's plan for free college could be a game-changer.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced a landmark plan to make college tuition-free for low- and middle-income families in New York.

The plan is called the Excelsior Scholarship, and it will take effect over the next three years, applying to any student attending a two- or four-year state or city university whose family earns less than $125,000 a year.

Considering that the median household income in New York state was $60,850 in 2015, this could make a huge difference for many families trying to send their kids to college.


"College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success ... and this society should say we're going to pay for college because you need college to be successful," Cuomo said in his Jan. 3 announcement alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, who made debt-free college a big part of his presidential campaign. "Other countries have already done it. It's time this country catches up."

Sanders is far from just a silent backer of the project. He took the stage to give a short speech expressing his support for Cuomo's plan, later tweeting, "If New York makes public colleges and universities tuition-free, mark my words, state after state will follow."

Cuomo's plan could be America's first big step toward what many schools across Europe already offer: free or nearly free college tuition for all residents.

Image via iStock.

Public colleges in Germany, Norway, Iceland, and Finland all offer free college tuition for students, no matter their household income — those countries even offer the same deal to international students, which is why American students sometimes opt to go abroad for their degrees.

Free tuition does come with a cost. The money has to come from somewhere, after all.

The reason colleges in other countries are able to offer free tuition is because their citizens pay more in taxes. Countries like Germany also have lower enrollment percentages than the U.S. as a whole.

New York has the third-largest state economy in the United States (on par with all of Canada), with over 1.3 million students attending public colleges. So the program could end up costing much more than the current proposal of $163 million.

There is evidence that tuition-free programs for middle- and low-income students do work in the U.S. on a smaller scale.

In 2015, Stanford University announced tuition would be free for students from households earning $125,000 and under. In fact, all the Ivy League schools (along with other privately owned schools) offer tuition wavers for households earning $75,000 or less. Just as a state would draw from taxes, these schools draw from student tuition funds and other funding sources to make economic diversity on campus a reality.

Stanford University. Photo by Harshlight/Flickr.

Cuomo's plan for one of the wealthiest states in the country has the potential to set a precedent to finally open those doors to any American who wants to walk through them.

Higher education should not only be available to the financially savvy or those lucky enough to be born into wealthy families. No one should have to go into severe debt to get the degree they need to get a job, contribute to the economy, and succeed in life.

You can show your support and learn more about the Excelsior Scholarship program here.

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

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Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Acts of kindness and compassion are always inspiring. A veterinarian gave a different spin on the phrase "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

The poor little pup in this video walked into this shelter with a history of being abused. He was so traumatized that he wasn't eating. The vet treating him wasn't sure what to do, so he decided to book a table for two: a the dog's place. It is not clear whether he got an official invite from the canine in question, but he felt pretty safe about showing up unannounced. He walked into the cage and sat down next to the dog. With his back up against the corner of his new (and hopefully temporary) domain, the rescue stared apprehensively at his human guest. The vet presented a dog dish with food and put it in front of the dog. The frightened pup just looked at the dish and made no attempt to eat. Then he broke out another dog dish identical to the one he just gave to his four-legged patient and started eating out of that bowl. And then came the turning point.


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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Do you know that guy who has never had an issue with his TV/internet provider? Neither do I. If you claim you have never had issues with your bill going up without warning, then you are either lying or you own the cable company. Jake Lawson apparently does not own a cable company, and was prepared to communicate his frustrations regarding his bill in a most creative way.

First off, Jake understands what everyone should realize. The customer service representative doesn't own the cable company either, so yelling at someone who is just trying to make a living like all of us is not the answer. Their job is hard enough as it is so give them a break. Jake gave them more than a break. He gave them a song.


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