March 11, 2015

Assembly's Families First Budget Supports
Higher Education Road to Success Initiatives

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah J. Glick today announced the Assembly's Families First proposed budget puts students on the Higher Education Road to Success. The program would fund innovative new and existing programs to make college more affordable, including increasing support for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards and committing more than $20 million to Opportunity Programs. The spending plan also provides funding to enhance community college base aid, to support the DREAM Act and to boost outreach programs.

"Access to education should not be a luxury, but a right," said Speaker Heastie. "The future of New York depends on our younger generations. Why then, are we not doing everything in our power to give our students the best possible chance to succeed? Increasing support for TAP, seeing the DREAM Act passed and funded, and financing other Higher Education Road to Success initiatives will help students and their families who struggle to afford the ever-increasing costs of higher education."

"The Assembly Majority continues its battle to ensure that every New York student who wants to go to college can afford to do so," said Assemblymember Glick. "Increased funding for TAP awards, scholarships and opportunity programs are important steps toward making an affordable higher education a reality."

The Assembly proposes to increase the maximum TAP award by $150 to $5,315. The budget also includes a 20 percent increase in funding for opportunity programs over last year. Total allocated funding includes:

Once again, the Assembly budget includes $27 million to fund the New York State DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would provide eligible immigrant students with access to TAP, scholarships and opportunity programs. It would also allow immigrant families who have a taxpayer identification number to open a New York 529 family tuition savings account.

By raising community college base aid, the state reduces a financial burden for both students and municipalities. Recognizing this, this year's proposal includes a base aid increase of $50 per full time equivalent (FTE) student at SUNY and CUNY community colleges, bringing the total base aid amount to $2,547 per FTE. In addition, the Assembly budget includes $2.5 million for CUNY's Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP), which aims to help motivated community college students earn their degrees as quickly as possible.

The Assembly proposal dedicates $1.5 million to a foster youth college success initiative that will provide support for foster youth to both enter into and succeed at college. It also provides funding for outreach and training programs including:

New York State's SUNY and CUNY systems make available an array of services beyond traditional education. SUNY hospitals provide care and services to thousands of New Yorkers, which is why the Assembly's proposal restores support for SUNY hospitals by $18.6 million to provide $87.9 million in total funding. The proposal also commits $1.5 million for CUNY LEADS, an academic and career program for students with disabilities at the City University of New York. The Assembly budget proposal restores funding to both SUNY and CUNY Child Care Centers and provides an increase of $445,000 to SUNY child care centers and $358,000 to CUNY child care centers.

Additional support in the Assembly's proposed budget for higher education includes: