Speaker Carl Heastie and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah J. Glick today announced the Assembly’s State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-2022 Budget invests in making higher education accessible for all New York students, funding the State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York’s (CUNY) world class educations, and providing almost $180 million for opportunity programs.
“Education is a critical rung on the ladder of success – and the Assembly Majority is committed to making sure it is within reach for every New Yorker,” Speaker Heastie said. “Especially as families across the state are struggling as a result of the pandemic, we will keep fighting to fund SUNY, CUNY and opportunity programs that make college accessible to all New Yorkers.”
“This last year has put an incredible financial strain on many families in New York, and it is more important than ever that we ensure the cost of higher education does not keep our students from going to college,” Assemblymember Glick said. “The Assembly Majority will continue to ensure that education, the great equalizer, is accessible for all New Yorkers.”
SUNY and CUNY
The Assembly Majority is committed to making college affordable for New York’s families. The SFY 2021-22 Budget rejects proposed tuition increases for SUNY and CUNY, including the proposal to allow for SUNY and CUNY schools to charge higher tuition than others. Instead of charging students more, the funding plan would provide an additional $50 million to SUNY and $33 million to CUNY. Additionally, the spending plan would provide $23 million to SUNY and $26.3 million to CUNY to begin to pay off the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) gap and would fully fund the TAP gap for SUNY and CUNY for this year. This funding can be used by SUNY and CUNY institutions to improve students’ educational experiences, including hiring professors, advisors and mental health counselors.
The Assembly’s budget includes funding for capital projects that would update and improve campuses. SUNY would receive $180 million and CUNY would receive $120 million for expansion projects to ensure colleges have state of the art facilities that offer current and future students the best possible education. The funding plan also increases critical maintenance funding to SUNY by $100 million for a total of $650 million and by $66 million to CUNY for a total of $350 million, which would maintain classrooms and facilities to keep them modern and safe. CUNY would also receive $15 million in capital funding to support green power and wind power training programs.
The budget would restore funding for SUNY-wide programs, including:
- $600,000 for Graduate Diversity Fellowships, for a total of $6.6 million;
- $700,000 for Small Business Development Centers for a total of $2.7 million;
- $500,000 for telehealth mental health services at SUNY;
- $250,000 for the Cornell Veterinary School;
- $150,000 for the Hispanic Leadership Institute for a total of $350,000; and
- $200,000 for the SUNY Institute for Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion.
Additionally, the Assembly would restore $1.5 million for the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies for total funding of $3.7 million, and $250,000 to the CUNY Pipeline Program.
Community colleges are a critical part of making higher education accessible to all New Yorkers. Currently, community colleges receive state funding on a per pupil basis. With enrollment down, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly believes it is critical that these institutions receive the funding necessary to educate their students. Instead of solely basing funding on a per pupil basis, the Assembly’s budget would provide a 100 percent college level save harmless floor for the 2021-22 academic year (AY) and a 98 percent floor going forward to provide a consistent base of support for individual colleges. SUNY community colleges would receive $33 million and CUNY community colleges would receive $10 million in additional funding to keep community college funding level with AY 2020-21. The Assembly also restores:
- $2.5 million in funding for Accelerated Study and Associates Program (ASAP);
- $1.1 million to SUNY and $902,000 to CUNY community college child care centers;
- $579,000 for SUNY and $447,000 for CUNY rental aid; and
- $196,000 in funding for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and add $1 million for total funding of $4.9 million.
The Assembly Majority knows that grants and scholarships are crucial to students and their families as they budget for higher education. The 2021-22 funding plan would increase the maximum TAP award by $1,000, bringing it from $5,165 to $6,165. More than 240,000 students across the state utilize TAP grants to make college affordable, and the maximum amount has not been raised in seven years, when it was increased by $165. Additionally, the plan provides $20 million for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship, which aids students with non-tuition expenses.
The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring every student in New York has access to higher education, regardless of their family situation. The Assembly’s budget proposal provides a $30 million, or 20 percent increase, in funding for all opportunity programs:
- Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) would be funded at $42.6 million, a $7.1 million increase;
- Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) would be funded at $38.6 million, a $6.4 million increase;
- Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) would be funded at $33.7 million, a $5.6 million increase;
- Liberty Partnerships would be funded at $22.0 million, a $3.7 million increase;
- Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) would be funded at $19 million, a $3.2 million increase;
- Collegiate Science and Technology Program (CSTEP) would be funded at $14.4 million, a $2.4 million increase;
- Foster Youth College Success Initiative would be funded at $7.2 million, a $1.2 million increase; and
- College Discovery would be funded at $1.6 million, a $270,000 increase.
The funding plan also restores $35.1 million in Bundy Aid to independent colleges and universities, and provides $30 million for an additional round of the Higher Education Capital (HECap) Matching Grants Program.
The Assembly’s budget would also provide $3 million to help students with disabilities in college.