Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick today announced that the Assembly's budget proposal for SFY 2018-19 continues the progress of the Higher Education Road to Success initiative in promoting college affordability in New York. The proposal invests $16 billion in funding support for opportunity programs, provides an increase in base aid at SUNY and CUNY and creates a new Martin Luther King, Jr. non-tuition scholarship to help close the affordability gap for even more families across the state.
"The Assembly Majority introduced the Road to Success Initiative in 2015 as a multi-year, strategic plan to increase access to an affordable college education for middle and low-income families in New York State," said Heastie. "Since that time, we have built on these investments each year with the goal of a future where every student can complete their education with a minimal debt burden and the tools they need to build successful careers."
"The Road to Success initiative is one of our proudest achievements for New York's families," said Assemblymember Glick. "The increases in base aid, opportunity programs and other efforts to close the affordability gap are critically important to putting students on a path to success. This budget reflects our core belief that education is the single greatest investment we can make for the future of our families and our state."
New York's SUNY and CUNY systems are the cornerstone of the Assembly Majority's mission to grow opportunities for all New Yorkers. These institutions have been an invaluable asset for middle and low-income families across the state looking to secure a quality college education for their students. The Assembly budget provides a full restoration and a 20 percent increase for opportunity programs above SFY 2017-18 funding levels as follows:
The Assembly proposal includes $12.1 million for SUNY and $6.3 million for CUNY to provide a community college base aid rate of $2,747, reflecting a $100 per student increase. CUNY ASAP receives a $2.5 million restoration, and in an effort to support parents who are continuing their education, the budget restores funding to child care centers at SUNY and CUNY with $1.1 million and $902,000, respectively. For SFY 2018-19 the Assembly also builds on the successful Foster Youth College Success Initiative started in 2015 by providing $6 million to support foster students on their path to higher education, a $1.5 million increase over SFY 2017-18.
In recognition of the affordability gap that remains for many low income families after eligible federal and state aid is applied, the Assembly budget proposal creates a new Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship to provide support grants for non-tuition expenses including housing, transportation, meal plans, books, student healthcare and other such costs. Funded at $25 million, this new grant program will complement the existing array of affordability options available to New York's students.
The spending plan would continue funding support for longstanding Assembly priorities, including $60 million for the Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC); a $250,000 restoration to support the CUNY Pipeline at the Graduate Center; and $6.5 million for ATTAIN Labs within SUNY. Other budget actions include:
For capital assistance, the Assembly budget restores $200 million to SUNY for critical maintenance and provides an additional $100 million each to SUNY and CUNY to fund expansion projects. In order to provide greater flexibility to SUNY hospitals to meet their staffing, equipment and other necessary expenses, the spending plan earmarks $78.6 million in operating support for these purposes. Other capital measures include:
In new initiatives, the Assembly Higher Education budget requires the submission of a five-year capital plan for SUNY and CUNY senior colleges as part of the annual executive budget proposal beginning in SFY 2019. As part of the state's ongoing efforts to support students and families facing hardship as a result of natural disasters, the proposal would allow the SUNY Board of Trustees to grant in-state tuition rates to these affected applicants. Other new inclusions would extend eligibility for a scholarship under the Enhanced Tuition Awards Program to students attending private and proprietary colleges as well as allow the Higher Education Services Corporation greater flexibility when determining aid eligibility for students whose households have experienced changes in income.