New York Sen. Stavisky wraps up statewide higher education tour

Originally published in NY State of Politics (click here for full interview) on November 24, 2021.

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky Speaks at a Higher Education Hearing in Albany

The chair of the New York State Senate Higher Education Committee, Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens), has wrapped up a series of hearings on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on higher education in New York state.

Stavisky told Capital Tonight that the public higher education system’s affordability and accessibility is under threat due to “austerity budgets."

Stavisky said the system has seen issues with enrollment due to the pandemic and rising tuition costs over recent years with community colleges bearing the brunt of these challenges.

Stavisky credits the state budget passed in April for freezing tuition increases this year and increasing the aid from the Tuition Assistance Program.

Due to the risk of community spread of COVID-19, the higher education system had to go remote at the height of the pandemic.

Stavisky said both the SUNY and CUNY chancellors expect a hybrid model between virtual and in-person classes in the future. Stavisky added that there is “nothing better” than in-person classes due to the connections students make with their peers and professors.