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Senate Majority to Pass Legislation to Aid Students in Higher Education

(Albany, NY) Today, the Senate Democratic Majority will advance legislation to improve resources and support in the higher education systems of New York. This package will ensure sufficient on-campus resources for veterans and grant veterans academic credits to state universities based on their military service and experiences. These bills will also standardize the award schedule of the Tuition Assistance Program for dependent and independent students, create a task force to study refinance options for private student loans, and protect the privacy rights of immigrant students on campus. Providing the community and state college systems of New York the support they deserve.

“The years our students spend in higher education will help shape the trajectory of their lives,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “New York is, and will continue to be, a national leader in offering quality college and advanced education opportunities. SUNY is the largest university system in the nation and CUNY is the nation’s largest urban public university. I applaud the bill sponsors and am proud of the Senate Democratic Majority’s commitment to support those seeking higher education.”

The legislation being passed by the Senate Majority, include:

• Helping Veterans in our Colleges: This bill S.2291 sponsored by Senator James Sanders Jr. will require the State University of New York and the City University of New York to examine and conduct a study on the availability of campus services, programs and resources for veteran students.

• SUNY/CUNY Veteran Credit: This bill S.2680A sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo will allow state operated institutions to grant academic credit to veterans based on their military experiences.

• Immigrant Student Privacy Protections: This bill S.2778 sponsored by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky prohibit any employee or officer of a CUNY or SUNY university to request the specific details of a student’s immigration status except when required by federal law, pursuant to court order, or as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility.

• Help Returning Students and Update their TAP Award Amounts: These two bills S.2764/S.2765 sponsored by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky will update the tuition assistance program, to increase award amounts to current day rates for dependent and independent students at degree-granting colleges in the state. This will incentivize students to continue their education.

• Standing up for Borrowers and creating the Student Loan Refinance Task Force: This bill S.2767 sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy will establish a private student loan refinance task force, made of various lending experts, legislative, and state representatives to come up with solutions to benefit borrowers.

This builds on the Senate Democrtic Majority’s continued work to maintain a high standard of continued education in New York State. In addition to the measures passed in this package, the Senate Majority held a hearing to hear from students, educators and community members on ways to best conduct our higher education system and combat fiscal challenges students face.

Bill Sponsor, and Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education Toby Ann Stavisky said, “All New Yorkers should have access to higher education, regardless of when they pursue it. This legislation makes sure students who initially qualified for TAP benefits decades ago, can receive financial assistance that reflects the current cost of tuition if they choose to re-enroll. Additional legislation protects the immigrant student community, by prohibiting colleges from asking about their immigration status so they can pursue their educational aspirations without fear of deportation.”



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