Senate Offers Comprehensive College Tuition Assistance Strategy

George Winner

January 30, 2007

Albany, N.Y.-- State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira) and his Senate colleagues today will introduce a comprehensive legislative package to expand New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), enhance the tuition tax credit for families and take other actions to assist students and their families with rising tuition costs.

"Affording a college education is one of the most daunting challenges facing today’s families," said Winner.

The Senate plan includes proposals to expand TAP eligibility, enhance the tuition tax credit for families, establish a student loan debt relief program, provide veterans assistance and create a math, science and engineering technology program for New York’s students. If enacted into law, the plan would provide $141.3 million in assistance this year and $448.3 million in 2008.

Specific initiatives contained in the Senate plan would:

> increase the income eligibility and award levels for TAP. For households with dependent students, for example, the income eligibility cap for TAP would be increased from $80,000 to $100,000. The minimum TAP award for families with dependent students would be increased from $500 to $1,000;

> increase the amount of deductible tuition expenses for New York families from $10,000 to $14,000. The state’s tuition tax credit will increase from 4 to 5 percent of eligible tuition, or a maximum of $700, up from the current $400;

> establish the New York State Math, Science and Engineering Technology Retention Program to increase the pool of science, engineering and technology professionals in the state and to keep these graduates in New York. A $1,000 state grant would be awarded in the first year to 1,000 undergraduate or graduate students living in New York State with a degree in math, science or engineering technology for each year of employment in any science, engineering or technology field, other than teaching, in New York State for up to five years. When fully effective in five years the program would award 5,000 grants annually; and

> increase the maximum tuition assistance grant to Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan or Iraq veterans from the current $2,000 to $4,350.