Garbarino Supports Legislation Aimed At Providing College Tuition To Children Of Deceased Military Men And Women

The Assembly Majority Leadership Blocks Bill in Committee
April 11, 2019

Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R,C,I-Sayville), a member of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, voted in favor of legislation which would provide SUNY and CUNY scholarships to dependents of military men and women who died during official duty. The bill, which would create merit scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and room and board, was rejected by the Assembly Majority despite broad support even from Gov. Cuomo.

“Serving our country comes with deep sacrifices on the part of those serving in the armed forces and their families. We must continually show our support by easing the burden on these families, and we had another opportunity through this legislation,” said Garbarino. “If ever a parent is lost while they are serving their country, we must ensure that their children do not lose the opportunity for a better future. This bill would have made college attainable for the surviving children of fallen military men and women. It is hard to understand why the Assembly Majority would reject this when even the governor has publicly expressed his support for our legislation.”

The legislation was held in the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, which means that it will not be able to come to the Assembly floor for a vote. The Assembly Majority argued that the program would cost too much money, which at most would be in the range of a few hundred thousand dollars, and should have been taken up in the budget. Meanwhile, the DREAM Act, a policy which gives undocumented immigrants free college tuition, was approved in the budget at a cost of $27 million. The DREAM Act was easily advanced out of the Higher Education Committee by the Majority in 2014, despite it costing significantly more than what the scholarships for children of fallen military personnel would cost.

Garbarino said that the Assembly Majoritys’ assertions as to why the legislation could not be advanced to the floor do not hold water. Furthermore, the governor stated to press in Buffalo that he would support a law change to allow for the awarding of these scholarships. The Assembly Majority played politics in the worst way by failing to support New York’s military families on this piece of legislation.