Will more states offer free college? Poll finds plurality agrees with free tuition

New York became the first state to offer free public college education on Monday -- a decision met with both cheers and jeers.

A new AOL News poll a slight plurality of respondents think the program should be expanded to other states.

Of those polled, 49 percent of people surveyed think every state should offer free four-year college tuition to public schools. In comparison, 44 percent of respondents said they do not think every state should offer free tuition. Seven percent said they were unsure.

The hardest college to get into in every state

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The hardest college to get into in every state
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The hardest college to get into in every state

Alabama: University of Alabama

Acceptance rate: 51.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 990-1250

(Photo by Lance King/Replay Photos via Getty Images)

Arizona: Arizona Christian University

Acceptance rate: 56.7%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 840-1090

(Photo via Facebook)

Arkansas: University of Arkansas

Acceptance rate: 62%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1010-1230

(Photo via REUTERS/Sean Gardner)

California: California Institute of Technology

Acceptance rate: 8.8%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1500-1600

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Colorado: Colorado College

Acceptance rate: 17.9%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1240-1430

(Photo via Facebook)

Connecticut: Yale University

Acceptance rate: 6.3%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1410-1600

(Photo by Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

District of Columbia: Georgetown University

Acceptance rate: 17.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1320-1520

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida: University of Miami

Acceptance rate: 38.2%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1220-1420

(Photo via REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

Georgia: Emory University

Acceptance rate: 26.8%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1280-1460

(Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Hawaii: Brigham Young University at Hawaii

Acceptance rate: 34.9%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 970-1170

(Photo via Facebook)

Idaho: Northwest Nazarene University

Acceptance rate: 65.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 900-1180

(Photo via Facebook)

Illinois: University of Chicago

Acceptance rate: 8.8%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1435-1600

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Indiana: University of Notre Dame

Acceptance rate: 21.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1340-1520

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Iowa: Grinnell College

Acceptance rate: 28.0%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1290-1500

(Photo via Facebook)

Kansas: Sterling College-Kansas

Acceptance rate: 44.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 820-1040

(Photo via Facebook)

Kentucky: Berea College

Acceptance rate: 33.7%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1020-1226

(Photo via Getty Images)

Louisiana: Tulane University

Acceptance rate: 28%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1230-1410

(Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Maine: Bowdoin College

Acceptance rate: 14.9%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1340-1520

(Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Maryland: Johns Hopkins University

Acceptance rate: 16.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1360-1510

(Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

Massachusetts: Harvard University

Acceptance rate: 6%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1410-1600

(Photo by Brooks Kraft/Corbis via Getty Images)

Michigan: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Acceptance rate: 32.2%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1280-1480

(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Minnesota: Carleton College

Acceptance rate: 22.8%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1320-1510

(Photo via Facebook)

Mississippi: Mississippi Valley State University

Acceptance rate: 16.3%

ACT 25th-75th percentile: 15-19

(Photo via Facebook)

Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis

Acceptance rate: 17.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1420-1570

(Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)

Montana: Carroll College

Acceptance rate: 57.5%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 990-1250

(Photo via Facebook)

Nebraska: Union College

Acceptance rate: 52.1%

ACT 25th-75th percentile: 19-25

(Photo via Facebook)

New Hampshire: Dartmouth College

Acceptance rate: 11.5%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1360-1550

(Photo via Getty Images)

New Jersey: Princeton University

Acceptance rate: 7.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1400-1600

(Photo via Getty Images)

New Mexico: New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology

Acceptance rate: 36.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1120-1310

(Photo via Facebook)

New York: Columbia University

Acceptance rate: 7%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1390-1570

(Photo via Getty Images)

North Carolina: Duke University

Acceptance rate: 11.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1370-1550

(Photo via Getty Images)

North Dakota: University of Jamestown

Acceptance rate: 64.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1066-1227

(Photo via Facebook)

Ohio: Kenyon College

Acceptance rate: 25.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1230-1420

(Photo by Brian Gray via Getty Images)

Oklahoma: University of Tulsa

Acceptance rate: 40.3%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1130-1410

(Photo via Getty Images)

Oregon: Reed College

Acceptance rate: 38.7%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1290-1480

Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 10.4%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1360-1550

(Photo via Getty Images)

Rhode Island: Brown University

Acceptance rate: 8.7%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1330-1550

(Photo via Getty Images)

South Carolina: Clemson University

Acceptance rate: 51.5%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1150-1340

(Photo via Getty Images)

South Carolina: Augustana College

Acceptance rate: 61.3%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1010-1230

(Photo via Facebook)

Tennessee: Vanderbilt University

Acceptance rate: 13.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1430-1580

(Photo via Getty Images)

Texas: Rice University

Acceptance rate: 15.1%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1390-1550

(Photo by Mabry Campbell via Getty Images)

Utah: Brigham Young University

Acceptance rate: 47%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1150-1370

(Photo by George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Vermont: Middlebury College

Acceptance rate: 17.2%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1260-1470

(Photo credit EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Virginia: Washington & Lee University

Acceptance rate: 19.5%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1320-1460

(Photo by Stephanie Gross for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Washington: Whitman College

Acceptance rate: 41%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1200-1430

(Photo via Facebook)

West Virginia: Concord University

Acceptance rate: 37.8%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 860-1060

(Photo via Facebook)

Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin

Acceptance rate: 56.9%

SAT 25th-75th percentile: 1180-1400

(Photo via Getty Images)

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Earlier this week New York lawmakers approved a budget plan that included a tuition-free option for students who meet certain requirements. Those eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship will still need to pay for room, board and other expenses.

Once the program is completely rolled out by 2019, over 940,000 families will be eligible to apply, costing the Empire State roughly $163 million each year.

The affordability of a college education has been a political topic of contention. While many critics -- particularly fiscal conservatives -- have suggested free college is unrealistic for taxpayers, proponents in the progressive community have advocated for cheaper options for higher education as a benefit to the public.

10 colleges that receive the most applications

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US News: 10 colleges that receive the most applications
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US News: 10 colleges that receive the most applications
1. University of California, Los Angeles

Number of applications: 92,728

U.S. News rank and category: 24 (toe), National Universities
2. University of California, Berkeley

Number of applications: 78,924

U.S. News rank and category: 20 (tie), National Universities
3. University of California, San Diego

Number of applicants: 78,056

U.S. News rank and category: 44 (tie), National Universities
4. University of California, Irvine

Number of applications: 71,768

U.S. News rank and category: 39 (tie), National Universities

5. University of California, Santa Barbara

Number of applications: 70,444

U.S. News rank and category: 37 (tie), National Universities

6. University of California, Davis

Number of applications: 64,510

U.S. News rank and category: 44 (tie), National Universities
7. San Diego State University

Number of applications: 58,970

U.S. News rank and category: 146 (tie), National Universities
 
8. California State University, Long Beach

Number of applications: 56,975

U.S. News rank and category: 35 (tie), Regional Universities (West)
9. New York Universities

Number of applications: 56,092

U.S. News rank and category: 36, National Universities
10. Boston University

Number of applications: 54,781

U.S. News rank and category: 39 (tie), National Universities
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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won support among many young voters during the campaign when he promised to offer free college education to all Americans. Sanders joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January for the announcement of the Excelsior Scholarship.

"Higher education in America should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few," Sanders said in a statement last week. "If we are to succeed in a highly competitive global economy and have the best-educated workforce in the world, public colleges and universities must become tuition-free for working families and we must substantially reduce student debt."

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also praised Cuomo and New York, tweeting earlier this week that this was a "great step for progressives."

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