Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R,C,I,Ref-Castleton) attended the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Higher Education where he advocated for efforts to make college more affordable to all students. The average New York student debt is $32,200, which is higher than the national average of $29,700. Middle-class families are getting squeezed out of assistance while low-income students cannot keep up with rising costs of fees, housing and the required books and materials needed for their courses.
Pursuing higher education is a key opportunity for young people and other adults to gain skills and expertise to secure excellent jobs and for society to benefit from their knowledge. If we do not get the rising costs of college and the resulting debt under control, we all will lose out on the benefits, said Ashby, who is a member of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. During budget negotiations, I will urge my colleagues to adopt simple commonsense changes such as raising TAP and Community College Base Aid to help relieve some of the burden faced by these students.
Some proposed ways to make college more affordable is to increase funding to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and to increase its income threshold cap to allow more middle-class families to be eligible for the assistance. Ashby also supports increasing Community College Base Aid, which is often too low to keep up with operating expenses. These costs are then passed on to college students.
Ashby also supports the Retain NY Act, which would allow the tuition tax credit to be indexed at a higher rate, increasing the tax deduction to $14,585 (A.4460-2018); and Assembly Bill 5917 (2018), which establishes a tax deduction for college supplies.