Griffo, Brindisi: State Budget Supports New York Students And Their Colleges

ALBANY – New York’s colleges – and its students – receive more financial help from the state if the 2014-15 budget is passed, Sen. Joseph A. Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said today.

The Tuition Assistance Program - which helps New Yorkers pay for the cost of attending a State University of New York (SUNY), City University of New York (CUNY), or not-for-profit independent college - will be increased by $34 million. The maximum award per student will be $5,165 – the first increase in 14 years.

Stuents who pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) will be eligible for a full scholarship to any SUNY or CUNY school from a new $8 million fund. The scholarships will be offered to the top 10 percent of high school graduates if they pursue a career in STEM and work in New York for five years.

“Many New Yorkers want to receive an education at one of our fine SUNY schools, but lack the financial resources to do so,” said Griffo. “Initiatives like expanding TAP and offering STEM scholarships are just two ways in which we can make it more affordable for high school graduates to continue their education.”

“These initiatives have much to offer both students and employers alike,” said Brindisi. “Programs like STEM and TAP provide students with affordable access to exceptional institutions and provide employers with the highly skilled workers they so desperately need.”

The budget also provides a $75 increase in base aid to community colleges for each full-time equivalent student, for a total increase in support of $15.1 million.

SUNY will also receive $55 million for a new round of economic development grants for its SUNY2020 program. The grants will be awarded to projects that improve academic achievement, create additional job opportunities for students and develop fruitful public-private partnerships.

The budget also includes $15 million to fund planning and development costs for a new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. The location for that college has not been determined yet.

In total, SUNY will receive an additional $178 million in state operating support.

“As technology advances and the workforce changes, it is important that we adapt and change with it,” said Brindisi. “This budget does a great deal to improve not only the quality of educational programs, but also the accessibility that students have to them.”

“If we want a workforce that’s ready and able to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy, we’ve got to support the schools where students are going to receive those valuable skills,” said Griffo. “I’m pleased to support increase funding for SUNY and its community colleges, and will continue to advocate for placing the new Emergency Preparedness college in Oriskany, where the state in already investing $42 million in its Preparedness Training Center.”