BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Wednesday, it was announced that a historic $500 million is being invested into the SUNY and CUNY systems from this year's New York State budget.
Officials at SUNY Buffalo State College said this will also cause elimination of the "TAP gap," which is the difference between TAP funding for students and actual tuition costs.
“Increasing access to higher education is a priority for us in New York. Millions of students have passed through the halls of our public colleges and universities, and the Tuition Assistance Program has been able to turn dreams into reality for many of them. But with rising tuition costs and lagging TAP funding, our universities have been forced to pick up the slack, taking funds from other important areas. With this year’s budget, New York is fulfilling its promise to low- and middle-income New Yorkers that a college education is attainable,” Sen. Sean Ryan said.
According the news release, Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera said this comes at a time where students are burdened with rising costs, a narrowing course selection and an array of instructional challenges.
“Higher education is the bedrock of our community, and the unremitting issues of affordability and accessibility have made it increasingly difficult for younger generations to improve themselves by pursuing degrees. The significant investment that the Assembly and Senate majorities worked hard to achieve this session is simply a down payment on our state’s higher education systems. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the next generation of our state’s workforce can access quality instruction without being burdened with unreasonable and unforgiving tuition costs,” Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said.
According to the news release, the TAP Gap has been a funding hurdle for the SUNY system and prior to 2011, low-income SUNY and CUNY students would have their tuition costs covered in full with colleges receiving adequate TAP payments to help cover costs for hiring new staff, and funding libraries.
Below is a list of other higher education highlights within this year’s budget:
- $106 million—$53 million for both SUNY and CUNY—to hire additional full-time faculty at both four-year colleges and community colleges. This investment will fund additional full-time faculty— at SUNY and CUNY, including support for CUNY's plan to convert adjuncts to full-time faculty. In addition, the Budget includes a $110 million increase to fund fringe benefits for SUNY and CUNY staff.
- $150 million to expand the part-time Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to support part-time students in degree-seeking programs and non-degree training programs at community colleges. For many students, full-time higher education is not viable with other challenges like work or families.
- $100 million for nonrecurring strategic investments—$60 million for SUNY and $40 million for CUNY—to improve academic programs, increase enrollment, enhance student support services and modernize operations.
- $2.2 billion in new State-funded appropriations for capital projects at SUNY and CUNY—$1.2 billion for SUNY’s State-operated campuses, $879 million for CUNY’s senior colleges, and $102 million for community colleges across the State.
- A one-time investment in child care ($10.8 million) and campus/college/hospital operations ($60 million) that are intended to increase enrollment, strengthen academic programs, and support the evolution of the SUNY System.