FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 1, 2015

2015-16 Budget Provides Funding for Vital Academic Programs to Put Students on the Higher Education Road to Success

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah J. Glick today announced the final 2015-16 state budget provides funding for key programs that will help make higher education more affordable and more attainable for New York students and their families. The enacted budget provides increases in funding for Opportunity Programs, enhances community college base aid and boosts outreach programs to put students on the Higher Education Road to Success.

"Funding for higher education programs was a priority of the Assemblyís Families First Budget. I am pleased that the final state budget includes crucial investments in higher education," said Speaker Heastie. "By making higher education more accessible and affordable, we are building a brighter future for our children and our state."

"This budget will help students and their families who struggle to afford the ever-increasing costs of higher education. The Assembly Majority has once again proven its commitment to ensuring that every New York student who wants to go to college can afford to do so," said Assemblymember Glick. "The enacted state budget is another important step toward making an affordable higher education a reality."

The budget also includes a 20 percent increase in funding for opportunity programs over last year. Opportunity Programs administered by State Education Department will be increased by 15 percent. Total allocated funding includes:

By raising community college base aid, the state reduces a financial burden for both students and municipalities. With this in mind, this year's budget includes a base aid increase of $100 per full time equivalent (FTE) student at SUNY and CUNY community colleges, bringing the total base aid amount to $2,597 per FTE. In addition, the budget includes $2.5 million for CUNYís Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which aims to help motivated community college students earn their degrees as quickly as possible. $7.5 million in funding for a new, New York AIMS Merit Scholarship program, which awards funds based on merit and need, is also provided.

The budget dedicates $1.4 million to allow disabled students to have greater access to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). It also provides funding for outreach and training programs including:

New York State's SUNY and CUNY systems make available an array of services beyond traditional education. To ensure that SUNY hospitals are adequately funded to continue providing critical care and services to thousands of New Yorkers, the budget restores $18.6 million for a total funding amount of $87.9 million. Funding restorations are also provided to both SUNY and CUNY Child Care Centers. Increased funding of $1.1 million is provided to SUNY child care centers and $902,000 is provided to CUNY child care centers, for a total of $2.1 million and $1.7 million respectively. The Legislature also commits $1.5 million for CUNY LEADS, an academic and career program for students with disabilities at the City University of New York.

Additional support in the enacted state budget for higher education includes: