Assemblyman Stirpe: Tips to Help Make College More Affordable

For many, higher education is the key to a bright, successful future. The college experience can open doors and create better opportunities for our kids. While preparing for college can be daunting for parents and students, New York State has many great programs to help make the process easier.

Planning for college involves a lot of important decisions in order to choose the school that best fits a student’s needs. When beginning the college search, keep in mind that New Yorkers have the benefit of the largest system of public higher education in the country and many of the best institutions of higher learning in the world are right here in our home state. College allows young people to learn and grow, and choosing the right school is the first step in the path to success.

Budgeting for college is an essential step, and the costs can often go beyond tuition, room and board. To help families afford college, New York offers the 529 College Savings Plan, which provides tax incentives for parents to save for their kids’ education. It’s a great program if parents have younger kids who still have a few years ahead of them before they begin their higher education. All students deserve the chance to earn a college degree without the worry of financial burdens down the road. Visit for other useful information about planning and managing college costs.

With the cost of higher education on the rise it’s important to take advantage of available financial aid programs. That’s why I’ve been working to help make college more affordable for New York’s families. This year, we increased funding for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for the first time in 14 years, bringing the maximum award to $5,165 per full-time equivalent student. We also increased funding for college opportunity programs such as the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge program (SEEK) and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). These valuable programs help more students reach their potential and help make the dream of a college education a reality.

In addition, I was proud to support the creation of a new scholarship program. New York now offers the NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program, which provides a full SUNY tuition scholarship to students in the top 10 percent of their high school class, provided they major in a STEM field and work in New York for five years after graduation. Having New York’s best and brightest studying and working here will inject innovation and vision into the STEM fields and help boost our economy. Visit to find out more about different scholarships and grants that are available.

If you have any questions about getting ready for college or any other community issue, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at or 315-452-1115.