Assembly to call for more investment in higher education in proposed New York state budget

The New York Capitol in Albany on Sept. 4, 2016.

Assembly Democrats are calling for more funding to go toward colleges and universities, more money for student living expenses and to keep tuition costs level as part of the house’s 2020-21 proposed state budget. 

Both the state senate and assembly propose their own state budgets, called “one-house budgets” every year around mid-March that influence final budget negotiations. 

“The Assembly Majority has long recognized that higher education is critical to establishing a pathway to the middle class for New Yorkers,” said Heastie in a statement released over the weekend. “Our proposed budget will reflect our unwavering commitment to higher education by breaking down even more barriers and putting our students on the path to success.”

The proposed budget will call for a $50 million investment in the city and state university systems to help close something called the TAP gap, or the difference the state spends in tuition-assistant grants for low-income students and tuition. In 2011, SUNY and CUNY were given the right to increase tuition by $300 over five years under NYSUNY 2020. After the legislation was enacted, both institutions took on the difference between tuition and the state’s Tuition Assistance Program awards. 

According to the statement, the proposed budget will also include $20 million to create the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund. The scholarship would help students receive New York State Tuition Assistance pay for room, board, transportation, textbooks and university and college fees. 

While proposing more funding, statement added that the assembly will also continue to push back against the proposed tuition hikes at SUNY and CUNY. 

“Over the last five years, we have fought to keep higher education within reach for our students, and to provide greater access to critical campus resources such as libraries and research facilities,” said Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah Glick.