CICU advocates for state and federal higher education policies that will help ensure student success. CICU’s state advocacy is focused on securing funding for student aid and education opportunity programs, research and development, and capital investment. Our advocacy efforts fall into two main categories: Opportunity and Equity and Partnering for Stronger Campuses and Communities.

Opportunity and Equity

By bolstering student aid and increasing support for proven programs, New York State can ensure access to high-quality higher education for all students, particularly those from historically marginalized communities. 

Partnering For Stronger Campuses and Communities 

New York State must strengthen partnerships with its colleges and universities, which are integral to the social and economic fabric of their communities. 


Signature Programs

TAP is the centerpiece of New York’s student aid program and has helped more than 5 million New Yorkers earn college degrees over its 50-year history. Expanding TAP further will help future nurses, teachers and engineers graduate with the credentials they need. TAP can be strengthened by raising the income limit to bring thousands more New Yorkers into the program, increasing the minimum and maximum awards, and reimagining Graduate TAP to provide support for critically needed STEM, education, and healthcare degrees.

Bundy Aid provides scholarships to needy and deserving students and funds academic support programs like tutoring, summer bridge programs, and support for students with disabilities. It is the only source of unrestricted aid New York State provides to private, nonprofit colleges and universities but Bundy Aid has been funded at $35 million — only 18% of statutory levels — for decades. Increasing this funding will help independent colleges better support their nearly 500,000 students.

Opportunity Programs provide access to higher education for talented students from disadvantaged communities, increasing graduation rates and lifting families out of poverty. In addition to financial aid, these programs offer students academic and social supports to help them get to graduation. Increasing funding benefits the following programs:

  • Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)
  • Science Technology Entry Program (STEP) and its collegiate counterpart (C-STEP)
  • Liberty Partnership Program (LPP)

Faculty diversity is a priority for every Independent Sector campus and the issue must be addressed from the ground up. Establishing the Charles L. Reason Fellowship will serve to identify students from underrepresented minority groups who want to pursue careers in academia and provide financial and academic support throughout their undergraduate careers.

The HECap Program spurs investment and jobs in communities across the state while strengthening higher education infrastructure. It has created more than 17,000 jobs in our communities, including over 8,700 construction jobs paying prevailing wages. Continued investment in HECap serves to build communities and local economies across the state.

Establishing a new $30 million competitive Green HECap Program would create significant return on investment for the state while helping college campuses decarbonize in accordance with the state’s ambitious climate goals.

The Centers for Advanced Technology (CATs) and Centers of Excellence (CoEs) have proven results of incubating technology and creating jobs and opportunity across the state. But they have suffered from years of flat, or reduced, funding. New York State must invest in these programs in order to continue defining the future of technology.

As federal research funding increases every year, New York must increase its commitment to bring those grant dollars to our state. Investing in the NYSTAR Matching Grants Leverage Program would bring hundreds of millions in federal research grants to New York campuses. NYSTAR’s 2022 Annual Report shows that this program has brought in nearly $24 million in federal grants from only $1.5 million in state expenditure: a 16-to-1 return on investment. In addition, the Faculty Development Grants Program will help retain and recruit world-class talent and bring their groundbreaking work to New York. In an earlier version of the program, New York saw a 7-to-1 return on its investment after 10 years.

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