On April 20, the New York State Legislature approved the FY 2025 New York State Budget. There were valuable key takeaways and victories for the Independent Sector.

This year’s Enacted Budget contains a generational increase in Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) support for students, raising the income limit and minimum award for the first time since 1999. TAP provides a pathway to upward mobility for hundreds of thousands of students each year. This long-awaited change will make a difference for New York students for years to come. CICU is proud to have led this advocacy effort along with our member campuses and Legislative Higher Education Committee Chairs Assemblywoman Fahy and Senator Stavisky. Policymakers recognize and appreciate the Independent Sector’s long-standing commitment to this needed TAP increase. 

CICU is also proud to have successfully advocated for the restoration of proposed cuts and an increase in funding for Education Opportunity Programs including HEOP, STEP/CSTEP and Liberty Partnership Program. The budget also includes $40 million to fund another round of Higher Education Capital (HECap) which provides critical matching funds to campuses to build, renovate and renew facilities. HECap grants create good jobs across the state and benefit students, campuses, and communities.

The FY 2025 Enacted Budget also enacts one of CICU’s legislative priorities: FAFSA For All. This initiative will require school districts to ensure high school seniors complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New York State Dream Act Application. Students who choose not to fill out an application must sign a waiver form indicating that they are aware of the available financial aid but choose not to pursue it. Last year, New York students left behind over $225M of unclaimed federal financial aid because they didn’t complete the FAFSA. FAFSA completion is one of the greatest indicators of a graduating high school senior pursuing a post-secondary education. We thank Governor Hochul and the State Legislature for their efforts to help more New York students access the financial aid they are entitled to receive.

Unfortunately, the budget included a provision that eliminates Bundy Aid eligibility for institutions with endowments greater than $750 million. CICU strongly opposed this proposal and worked with impacted campuses, the CICU Board of Trustees and coalition partners to oppose it. This reduction in student aid will increase costs for hardworking students and their families who rely on the financial support provided by Bundy Aid to help them achieve their dream of a college degree. New York should not balance its budget on the backs of these students. This is a short-sighted decision that hurts New York’s students and families. CICU will strongly advocate to fully restore Bundy Aid and continue state support for all member campuses.

To learn more about the activities supported by college and university endowments spending such as student aid, academic programs, research, and public service, please download CICU’s report here.

While the budget may be completed, there are still several weeks remaining in the 2024 Legislative Session. CICU plans to continue its focus on these items: 

  • Engineering Technology (A.5051/S.1049): A bill to remove the two-year work requirement before Engineering Technology bachelor’s graduates can take the Professional Engineer licensure exam.
  • Support for Student Veterans (A.9205-A/S.8596-A): Legislation to increases access to state benefit programs for student veterans and their families, including legislation to open Veteran Tuition Awards to non-combat veterans and legislation (A.2154/S.2119) to allow veterans to transfer state educational benefits to next of kin.
  • Licensure for DACA Recipients (A.8231/S.6281): This bill will allow DACA recipients to obtain professional licensure in New York.
  • Program Approval: CICU will continue to advocate for changes to the state’s program approval process with the State Education Department and the Legislature.

CICU appreciates the partnership and advocacy of students, member campuses, and state policymakers throughout the budget and legislative process.


About the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York: CICU represents the public policy interests of more than 100 independent colleges and universities in New York State. Founded in 1956 by a small group of college and university presidents, CICU is an educational corporation formed under the New York State Regents whose mission is to provide opportunity and access to higher education through fairness, equity, and humanity.

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