Ithaca, N.Y. — A plan recently unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls for New York State to cover students’ loan obligations for two years after graduation if they meet certain criteria.

Coupled with an existing federal program, Cuomo’s initiative would mean that these students would be free of their student debt for two years.

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According the governor’s website, to qualify for the program graduates must:

1 — Attend college in New York and continue to live in the state following graduation;
2 — Participate in the federal PAYE program; and
3 — Earn less than $50,000 annually.

“When an individual meets these qualifications, New York State will pay the difference between what the federal government covers and the individual’s total loan payment,” Cuomo’s statement said.

“This means the State will ensure that 100 percent of a graduate’s loan payments for two years are covered so they are not overwhelmed with debt repayments while working to get situated in today’s job market.”

The “Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program” is expected to help 24,000 participants annually by 2019-20 and cost approximately $41.7 million, according to the governor’s website.

The proposal is not limited to state schools. “It’s everybody,” says Jennifer Miller, director of communications for the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities.

Miller praised the proposal and pointed out that it had won high praise from several university presidents.

From the CICU website:

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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.