NYU’s New President Announces Free Tuition for Qualifying Students

Linda G. Mills, New York University's first woman president, announced in her inauguration speech that NYU would cover tuition for students from families making less than $100,000.
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Updated on October 24, 2023
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  • NYU selected Linda G. Mills to be president in February.
  • At her inauguration this week, she announced a free college plan for families making less than $100,000.
  • Free tuition programs are offered at other institutions, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and NYU's neighbor Columbia University.
  • NYU's move solidifies New York state's position as a hub for education accessibility for students whose families may have difficulty affording college.

New York University's (NYU) first woman president, Linda G. Mills, is giving some students a chance to attend the private university tuition-free.

Mills made the announcement during her Oct. 17 inauguration speech. The initiative, she said, provides free tuition for first-year, full-time students from families making less than $100,000 a year.

NYU selected Mills to be the 17th president of the 192-year-old university in February. She started at NYU in 1999 as an associate professor of social work and was promoted to full professor in 2001.

She was also the executive director of NYU's Center on Violence and Recovery and vice chancellor and senior vice provost for global programs and university life.

"Unlike other universities steeped in their histories, NYU has always looked forward," Mills said during her acceptance speech. "What next? What more? Where beyond?"

Mills also announced that the university's Prison Education Program is expanding into bachelor's degree opportunities for incarcerated students. And the School of Professional Studies is developing accelerated degrees for 2,000 working learners.

"Flourishing is the heart and soul of our task. Flourishing for faculty, staff, students, and alumni," Mills said. "'In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength,' as Maya Angelou observed. And in this flawed and fractious world, so painfully evident today, it takes strength to strive for beauty among disparate fragments, to seek both contrasts and connections that compose this vast mosaic of our existence, to be a piece that holds other pieces together."

New York State's Push for Academic Accessibility

NYU is just the latest highly selective university to provide free tuition for students based on their families' annual income. Duke University, Harvard University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have all recently announced similar initiatives.

But NYU's move solidifies New York state's position as a hub for education accessibility for students whose families may have difficulty affording tuition costs of private or public institutions.

Uptown from NYU, fellow private institution Columbia University offers free tuition to families making less than $150,000 per year. Eligible Columbia students also may receive a $2,000 start-up grant to ease students' transition into college.

Meanwhile, the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems also offer free tuition for students from families who make $125,000 or less per year and are U.S. citizens or NYS Dreamers.

This month, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that all public colleges and universities and 40 private colleges (not including NYU) are waiving application fees in October for the 10th annual College Application Month.

New York also expanded on-campus childcare for student-parents last year at SUNY and CUNY schools. NYU offers childcare consultations, parenting groups, and educational workshops for student-parents.