2018-19 Legislative Priorities

Invest in Students

Empower students to choose the college or university where they have the best chance of being successful. Student aid makes it possible for individuals to achieve greater earning potential, realize lower rates of unemployment and better the odds for improving the quality of life in their communities.

Fully fund the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) 

The centerpiece of New York State’s large and diverse student aid opportunity programs, TAP has enabled more than five million New Yorkers to realize their college aspirations since its creation in 1974. 

Modify the Enhanced Tuition Awards program to attract additional participants

  • Remove government-imposed cap on tuition charges. These caps require that campuses constrain revenues despite rising costs for financial aid, personnel costs (including health benefits), maintenance and research. Tuition caps on some students also drive higher costs for others.

  • Permit campuses to recognize existing campus-provided institutional grant aid; and

  • Provide for a separate match requirement for minority-serving institutions.

Increase funding for Direct Institutional “Bundy” Aid

“Bundy” Aid is crucial to independent colleges and universities as it supplements their institutional financial aid and scholarship programs. This historic partnership between the state and independent colleges and universities enables the state to educate students at a lower cost for taxpayers while ensuring quality, access, diversity and choice for all students. Funding should be increased commensurate with the percentage increase in funding provided for the State University (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) to ensure state residents have a diverse array of higher education options. 

Expand the tax deduction for New York's 529 Plan 

This would encourage families to save for higher education expenses. 

Reinvent Grad Tap

The number of jobs requiring master’s degrees is anticipated to grow by 18 percent and by 16 percent for doctoral or professional degrees, compared to 12 percent for bachelor’s degrees by 2022. New York State can help individuals prepare for occupations such as accounting, teaching and physical therapy by reimagining graduate tuition assistance.

Expand STEM Incentive Program and Masters-in-Education Program

Allow students at private, not-for-profit colleges and universities to participate in the STEM Incentive Program and Masters-in-Education Program to ensure a talent pipeline in these critical degree areas.

Double opportunity programs by 2020

Opportunity programs have a proven, measurable effect on the number of economically and educationally disadvantaged, as well as first-generation, students who attend and complete college. Demand for these programs exceeds the current funding available. Through sustained increases in base funding, we seek to double funding for these critical programs by 2020.

  • The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) ensures that promising students, who might not otherwise be able to attend college due to academic and economic difficulties, have the same opportunities as their peers. There are currently 53 HEOP programs at 49 independent colleges and universities.

  • The Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP) and its high school counterpart STEP are designed to increase the enrollment and retention of underrepresented high school and college students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related programs. C-STEP and STEP combined have served more than 222,000 students since their creation 25 years ago.

  • The Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) was established in 1988 to address the significant high school dropout rate and expanded the scope and breadth of New York State’s student aid opportunity programs. Approximately 3,000 students are served at 14 participating Independent Sector colleges.

Grow New York’s Economy

Higher education remains one of New York State’s most significant economic sectors. Independent colleges and universities are integral to state and local communities, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating nearly $80 billion in economic activity annually across New York State. Our faculty, staff, administrators and related employers pay nearly $2 billion in taxes. Beyond the numbers, the Independent Sector is a driving market force for the world in the creation, acquisition, and distribution of knowledge. 

Fund the Higher Education Capital (HECap) Matching Grant Program

The state has always found a willing and able partner in New York State’s Independent Sector of higher education. Since the enactment of HECap in 2005, the Independent Sector has leveraged this state investment to build, renovate and renew facilities and infrastructure that provides benefit for the students, faculty and staff – and importantly, for communities across the state. Annual funding for this program powers economic activity and job creation in every region.

Create a Higher Education Shared Services Incentive Fund

Colleges and universities could access this fund as they work to find efficiencies for real, recurring operational savings. By identifying collaborative opportunities for shared services between as many campuses as possible, the state can preserve the diversity of its higher education ecosystem while mitigating the costs of delivering world-class higher education. 

Make a Statement: New York Believes in Science

Higher education is one of New York State’s most significant industries and, in partnership with the state, public and private colleges and universities could help New York become America’s leader in the research that ultimately drives economic development and boosts quality of life. The state should invest in the ideas, talent and state-of-art facilities that are critical ingredients to a thriving high-tech economy.


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