Senate Okays 2005-06 Higher Education Budget Legislation

James L. Seward

March 15, 2005

The New York State Senate has approved the higher education portion of the 2005-06 state budget that restores and appropriates additional funding to higher education including restorations for the tuition assistance program (TAP), State University of New York (SUNY), City University of New York (CUNY) and funds for independent colleges and universities. The senate also rejected proposals to raise CUNY ($250 per student) and SUNY ($500 per student) tuition.

"Our plan is designed to ensure New York continues to offer the best higher education system in the nation, and it provides the resources to ensure the system is accessible and affordable to the children of New York State who are seeking to continue their education," said Senator James L. Seward. "The senate’s budget bill also restores full funding for the TAP program, as well as other important higher education programs to help New York students afford a top quality higher education."

The highlights of the senate’s proposed $243 million in 2005-06 higher education restorations include nearly $117 million in restorations to (TAP) and rejects a proposal to defer a portion of a student's TAP award until graduation.

The senate’s $103 million in restorations to SUNY included additional funding for base aid, operating aid, educational opportunity program, rental aid and marine science research aid. The $42 million in CUNY restorations included additional funding for base aid, operating aid, SEEK and college discovery.
To ensure predictability in tuition rates, the senate plan authorizes CUNY and SUNY trustees to increase tuition yearly using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), instead of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), and to freeze tuition rates charged to resident undergraduate students
beginning in the 2005-06 academic year.

Additionally, the senate proposes additional funds to ensure New York’s colleges and universities have the best possible facilities. The plan includes the governor’s $250 million capital program for public and private colleges, which sets aside $150 million for private colleges that would require a matching investment that would be distributed by formula and a $100 million competitive fund for public and private colleges that would also require a match. It also includes an additional $362 million for SUNY and $248 million for CUNY capital projects, which include projects that were vetoed by the executive in the SFY 2004-05 state budget.

Additional higher education funding under the senate budget bills includes:
-$9 million in NYSTAR CAT development Program funds;
-$3.1 million in NYSTAR faculty development;
-$7.3 million for the HEOP program;
-$1.8 million in funding for the Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program;
-$900,000 Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program