S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
I N S E N A T E
May 9, 2014
Introduced by Sen. RIVERA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education
AN ACT to require the conducting of a study by the board of regents of
feasible alternative methods of funding a college education at public
four-year institutions of higher learning in New York state
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. The legislature recognizes that post-secondary education
has expanded opportunities for New Yorkers to qualify for high-quality
jobs and entry into the middle class, providing clear benefits to this
Regrettably, public investment in higher education in this state has
decreased over the past decade, resulting in substantial increases in
annual tuition, fees and room and board imposed by public four-year and
two-year institutions of higher education in the state. These increases
have out-paced increases in the average family income in the state,
forcing students to incur larger amounts of debt in order to afford to
attend college. The average student loan debt of students graduating
from public four-year institutions of higher education in New York now
Such high levels of student debt are damaging not only to the individ-
ual student's ability to succeed financially but also will have grave
consequences for the future economy of this state.
The legislature finds that it must halt the decrease in the state's
support for public education and, over time, must increase its contrib-
ution to the funding of higher education. It also finds that the state
must immediately seek another approach to financing the students' share
of the cost of public higher education in this state that will not
result in students graduating from New York's public colleges and
universities burdened with debt.
S 2. The board of regents shall consider the creation of a proposed
pilot program called "Pay Forward, Pay Back".
(a) The pilot program would:
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 7308 2
(i) Replace the current system of charging students tuition and fees
for enrollment at public institutions of higher education; and
(ii) Identify one or more public institutions of higher education to
participate in the pilot program.
(b) If the board of regents determines that a pilot program is
warranted, the commission shall submit a proposed pilot program to the
2016 regular session of the legislature for approval.
(c) The proposed pilot program shall:
(i) Allow students who are residents of this state, as defined by the
institution, and who qualify for admission to the institution to enroll
in the institution without paying tuition or fees;
(ii) Provide that, in lieu of paying tuition or fees, students must
sign binding contracts to pay to the state of New York or the institu-
tion a certain percentage of the student's annual adjusted gross income
upon graduation from the institution for a specified number of years;
(iii) Specify the number of years and the percentage of annual
adjusted gross income for contracts at each participating institution
and base the specifications on research to date; and
(iv) Establish an immediate funding source for the first 15 to 20
years of the pilot program and include the establishment of a revolving
fund to deposit payments made under the pilot program.
(d) The pilot program may vary by institution depending on:
(i) The total cost of education at the institution.
(ii) The portion of the cost that is paid by the state.
(iii) The number of years specified in the contract.
(iv) The percentage of annual adjusted gross income specified in the
S 3. (a) The board of regents shall conduct a study on whether public
universities in the state can successfully implement a tuition freeze
that will guarantee that incoming undergraduate students have the same
tuition rate for four years. The study must include an analysis of:
(i) The 'Western Tuition Promise' offered by Western Oregon Universi-
(ii) The 'Finish in Four' program proposed in Florida; and
(iii) Ways of mitigating the financial strain that the adoption of a
tuition freeze would place on a university's finances.
(b) The board of regents shall submit a report on the study described
in subdivision (a) of this section to the committees relating to higher
education during the 2015 regular session of the legislature.
S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.