On Monday March 14th, the New York State Senate passed its One-House Budget, detailing funding for CUNY and SUNY. The Senate’s budget proposal provides an historic investment of $1.1 billion in additional funding.
This year’s Senate budget proposal would increase funding at CUNY by $500 million and SUNY by $600 million, creating a “New Deal” at both institutions. This will allow for the hiring of more fulltime faculty and increase operating aid.
Since becoming Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, Senator Stavisky has focused on reversing a decade’s worth of disinvestment and underfunding in CUNY and SUNY. “Over the last ten years, New York State has relied more and more on student tuition to fund higher education. In 2011, the State share of funding for CUNY and SUNY was 46%, last year it dropped to 32%, a reduction of 14%. CUNY is one the greatest economic mobility engines, uplifting low-income people into the middle class”, said Senator Stavisky. “If we truly want to tackle income inequality, it begins with this investment in higher education.”
Also included in the Senate proposal is Senator Stavisky’s separate legislation to expand TAP to cover more middle class families. It would increase the income threshold from $80,000 to $110,000 and would raise the minimum award from $500 to $1,000. This budget would also expand the TAP award for part-time students.
SUNY would also see an historic investment. Senator Stavisky noted that, “SUNY and CUNY community colleges are the gateway for many people and this budget improves aid that is critical for these schools.” Also in the budget proposal, the State will pay off $67 million in debt service for the SUNY hospitals. The State covers these costs for all agencies except for the SUNY teaching hospitals. “These hospitals are literally a lifeline in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse and for many, the only available medical provider.”