Jacobs Says State Budget Continues Commitment to Higher Education

April 9, 2008
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced today that despite tough economic times the final budget continues to keep college affordable for all New York families.

“Over the years, the cost of higher education has become less affordable,” said Jacobs. “Although we find ourselves in a struggling economic climate, we still believe that every New Yorker should have an opportunity to obtain a higher education.”

The final budget includes no tuition hikes at SUNY or CUNY and restores $38.4 million in operating aid to SUNY and $19.6 million to CUNY. This funding will help the schools with initiatives like increasing faculty to support growing enrollment and expanding their nursing programs.

In total, nearly $5 million is earmarked for additional nursing education, including nearly $2 million in funding to SUNY nursing schools, nearly $2 million for CUNY schools, and nearly $1 million for nursing programs at private colleges and universities.

Jacobs also emphasized that the final budget rejects gubernatorial cuts from community college aid, preserving funding at $2,675 per full time equivalent student. That means there will be no reduction in aid for SUNY’s 30 and CUNY’s 6 community colleges.

This represents a $20 million restoration at SUNY community colleges and a $7.5 million restoration at CUNY community colleges.

“In New York’s public university system, thousands of students have obtained a quality education,” Jacobs said. “Our top priority is to ensure struggling students aren’t forced to shoulder the burden of these tough economic times.”

TAP

The budget restores $15.4 million to the Tuition Assistance Program, rejecting a $50 across-the-board cut to all TAP recipients. It also provides a $2.9 million restoration to the TAP program to allow students in default on their federal student loans to continue to receive TAP.

Funding opportunity programs

In addition, the final state budget rejects the executive budget cuts to college opportunity programs and funds them at the following levels to ensure New Yorkers have the chance at earning a college degree:

  • $20.4 million in EOP funding
  • $25.2 million in HEOP funding
  • $17 million in funding for SEEK
  • $12.6 million for Liberty Partnership
  • $881,265 for College Discovery

“Educational opportunity programs are instrumental in helping working families afford a college education,” Jacobs said. “These programs will help strengthen New York’s higher education system and ensure that all students have access to an affordable college education.”

Assistance for veterans

To help veterans afford a college education, Jacobs said the final budget provides veterans returning from combat with a tuition grant – up to the value of in-state SUNY undergraduate tuition – which can be used at any public or private college or university in the state. The budget funds this initiative at $2 million and expands the scope of the program to cover more combat veterans.

“This state budget reflects our commitment to the future of New York’s college students. While tough times require tough choices, we must ensure college students have the resources they need to succeed. The funding in this state budget will make certain our public universities and colleges will remain affordable and accessible for all,” concluded Jacobs.