ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state lawmakers are taking a closer look at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to give middle class students free tuition at state universities and colleges.

Tuesday's joint Senate and Assembly budget hearing will focus on higher education issues, with Cuomo's tuition proposal expected to dominate the discussion.

The Democratic governor's proposal would make tuition to state higher education institutions free for students from families making less than $125,000. He estimates the proposal will cost $163 million.

Some lawmakers have expressed doubts about that relatively modest price tag while others argue room and board pose a bigger burden for students.

State higher education leaders are expected to testify, as are representatives from private universities and education advocacy organizations.

Lawmakers hope to approve a final state budget before April 1.

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