Governor Cuomo Can Lead Nation by Improving College Accessibility for Women, Veterans and Communities of Color

Colleges Urge Governor Cuomo to Lift Barriers of Opportunity

Nearly 40,000 New York college students pursuing State Board of Regents approved degrees, and their personal dreams are looking to Governor Cuomo to open the door of opportunity by signing into law legislation making them eligible for the state’s enhanced tuition award program. 

The legislation, (Senate Bill No. 5891 / Assembly Bill No. 7697) sponsored by Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Victor Pichardo would provide students, if income eligible, with access to additional state financial support for college tuition.

The measure would remedy a failure in a program created last year focusing on making college affordable. Today it unfairly limits student participation at all New York Colleges.  It stems from the fact that the New York State Department of Education, and the New York State Board of Regents approved various degree programs and regulate colleges using a common standard across all sectors of higher education. This long-held policy ensures that students attending college in New York State are assured of quality academic programs and consumer protections that simply do not exist across the country. 

Donna Gurnett, President of New York Association of Proprietary Colleges said: “By lifting the restrictions that are currently in place – Governor Cuomo would once again be leading the nation by opening doors of opportunity to New Yorkers who are working hard to earn their college degree, reduce student debt and secure a better job.”

In recent weeks, the legislation, which was overwhelmingly approved by the State Legislature, has been the target of attacks by those who are simply unaware or uninformed of New York State’s leadership position in the field of higher education, and its reputation of cross sector regulatory parity or the record of achievement of the students attending New York’s proprietary colleges.

“Higher education is about accessibility – but for many, the cost of tuition is a barrier, and when our students are blunted from participating in an income-based program – you are saying you are not worthy to participate to a college population that is composed of 70 percent women, 41 percent black or Hispanic and more than 2,000 veterans,” Gurnett said.