December 2, 2009

Assembly Passes Deficit Reduction Plan
To Close Budget Gap, Rejects Cuts To Tuition Assistance Program

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Ways and Means Committee Chair Herman D. Farrell, Jr., and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick announced today the Assembly passed critical cuts to the 2009-2010 budget in order to meet the current budget deficit, without decreasing crucial funds to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

TAP provides grants to New York State residents attending college in the state. Awards are based on income levels, and go up to $5,000 per year. Under the governor's proposed Deficit Reduction Plan, all awards would have been cut by $120.

"The Assembly Majority has worked diligently with the Governor and Senate to address this very serious budget shortfall to ensure the financial health of New York State remains strong, while also protecting our most vulnerable citizens," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "Today we made many difficult decisions that will enable our state to get back on stable financial standing, without cutting funds to TAP and imposing financial obstacles in the way of hard working New Yorkers who want a college education."

"While taking these painful yet necessary steps to reduce the current year's budget, the Assembly continued to fight for higher education and the millions of New Yorkers trying to better their lives through higher learning," said Farrell (D-Manhattan). "By eliminating reductions in TAP, we will continue to invest in our higher education system, the foundation of a strong economy."

"In a very dim picture for higher education, this is one bright spot that will help students to complete this school year," said Glick (D-Manhattan).