New bill would raise standards for state-funded college education

NEW YORK — New York lawmakers are debating a bill that would raise the state’s graduation rates and allow more state students to attend public colleges and universities.

The measure, which is also being pushed by state Education Secretary Roberta Jacobson, would require that New York state public colleges provide at least a 60 percent graduation rate in a year, up from 60 percent now.

And the bill would increase the number of students eligible for free tuition at public colleges from 6,000 to 9,000.

Jacobson said she hopes the bill will help students from low-income families graduate from public colleges, as well as students with disabilities.

The legislation would require colleges to meet a certain number of qualifying students, including at least 1,000 students with the highest scores on the state standardized test, she said.

A state-run college would be required to spend $200 million a year on student aid, which would be funded by raising the state graduation rate and by requiring colleges to pay students tuition.

The bill also would allow students to take an online college-prep course and be able to apply for loans from their school.