Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York's Excelsior Scholarship program saw a 20 percent increase in the second year of the first-in-the-nation program.

About 24,000 SUNY and CUNY students are expected to receive the Excelsior Scholarship at the completion of year two.

That's up from 20,000 scholarships in year one.

"The Excelsior Scholarship program is off to an impressive start," Cuomo said. "This program is far more than free-tuition for New York's future leaders - it is a college completion and degree attainment program. We now know that with Excelsior, students stay on track academically to achieve their degree in two or four years, and completing college in this time frame translates into substantial savings for middle-class students and their families."

The Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend state universities tuition-free.

It's been phased in over three years, expanding eligibility to more New York families each year.