Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein on Thursday unveiled a proposal aimed at college affordability that would expand access to the Tuition Assistance Program for undergraduate and graduate students, create ways of reducing college debt and reconstituting the defunct Liberty Scholarship program.

“A college education is a crucial step to living a comfortable life with a well-paying job. But with the rising costs of a higher education, students and their families increasingly turn to student loans, ending up deeply indebted,” said Klein, a Bronx Democrat. “College must be made more affordable for New Yorkers, and our students seeking a brighter future shouldn’t be penalized with outrageous loan payments. That’s why today I introduced the IDC’s seven-point proposal to cut college costs and give relief to our college graduates already in debt.”

The plan comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed the Legislature to back his proposal for free tuition to students at SUNY and CUNY schools whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.

Klein’s proposal includes expanding TAP to increasing the income eligibility from $80,000 to $125,000 and making the minimum award $2,000, up from $500. At the same time, graudate students would also be eligible for TAP and the allowance of aid for disabled students would grow from four to six years.

He also wants to create a STAR program, a refundable tax credit for allowable tuition expenses.

And he would reinstate the Liberty Scholarship, a program that was created in 1988 but was never funded. It would cover non-tuition expenses for full and part-time students.