ALBANY, N.Y. — Inmates at 17 correctional facilities in New York will soon have greater access to a college education.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced the $7.3 million initiative on Monday.

The program will create more than 2,500 slots for inmates over five years.

Cuomo, a Democrat, says the idea is to reduce the chances of inmates reoffending by giving them the educational tools to succeed when they are released.

The program is being funded with money from criminal forfeitures.

The colleges and universities set to participate in the program include Bard College, Cornell University, Medaille College, Mercy College, Mohawk Valley Community College, New York University and Jefferson Community College.