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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.

via USO

Army Capt. Justin Meredith used the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to read to his son and family while deployed in the Middle East.

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One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.

For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.

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Jimmy Fallon #MyFamilyIsWeird.

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season is when we get the pleasure of spending way more time than we’re used to with our families. For those of us who’ve moved away from our immediate families, the holidays are a great time to reacquaint ourselves with old traditions and to realize that some of them may be a little strange.

Every family seems to have its own brand of weirdness. In fact, I wouldn’t trust anyone who says that their family is completely normal.

On November 18, “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon gave everyone a reason to celebrate their unique families by asking them to share their favorite stories under #MyFamilyIsWeird. The responses were everything from odd holiday traditions to family members that may have a screw (or two!) loose.

Here are 17 of the funniest responses.

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Bono, Dave Grohl, Ariana Grande

Director Peter Jackson’s new 468-minute Beatles documentary “Get Back” is a landmark achievement. It’s an in-depth, warts-and-all glimpse into the creative process of four of the most important musicians and cultural figures of the past 100 years.

The crazy thing is that’s not even an overstatement. Watching the Beatles pull tunes from the ether and then work them into some of the most enduring songs in the history of popular music is revelatory.

Like when Paul McCartney strums his way into writing “Get Back.”

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Cayce LaCorte explains why virginity doesn't exist.

The concept of virginity is a very loaded issue in American culture. If a woman loses hers when she's too young she can be slut-shamed. If a man remains a virgin for too long, he can be bullied for not being manly enough.

There is also a whole slew of religious mind games associated with virginity that can give people some serious psychological problems associated with sex.

Losing one's virginity has also been blown up way beyond proportion. It's often believed that it's a magical experience—it's usually not. Or that after having sex for the first time people can really start to enjoy living life—not the case.

What if we just dropped all of the stigmas surrounding virginity and instead, replaced them with healthy attitudes toward sex and relationships?

Writer Cayce LaCorte is going viral on TikTok for the simple way she's taught her five daughters to think about virginity. They don't have to. LaCorte shared her parenting ideas on TikTok in response to mom-influencer Nevada Shareef's question: "Name something about the way you raised your kids that people think is weird but you think is healthy."

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