NYS Senate republican tuition plan to protect private colleges

Mar 17, 2017

New York State Senate republicans are proposing a plan to make college more affordable and protect private colleges. They have proposed a significant increase in the Tuition Assistance Program known as TAP. 

Medaille College campus in Buffalo, one of the private schools concerned about SUNY "tuition free"
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed spending $163-million to offer free tuition at all public colleges and universities in New York. It would cover some middle class families earning $125-thousand or less.

Buffalo's freshman Republican Senator Chris Jacobs tells WBFO that plan would have penalized private colleges receiving TAP dollars.  

Freshman Republican State Senator Chris Jacobs.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“The Governor was also going to put some punitive measures into the TAP assistance and other aid that goes to private universities sand threaten that if certain things weren’t done they would lose that as well,” explained Jacobs.

The Republican plan would allocate over $100-million additional dollars what Jacobs described as "Enhanced TAP".  The republican plan is most affordable for the state.

“This will make the amount of the TAP award more.  I think this will be a significant investment in education, but it will be as TAP, and historically we have approached higher education that we fund the student and allow them to choose whether they want to go to a public or private university,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs said this would protect private colleges. Many in the Buffalo Niagara region have voiced concerns they would loss out to a SUNY tuition free plan for many middle-class students. Some fear it could crush their schools.

“We’re just very concerned that a sole focus on the public universities would be so detrimental to the private colleges we may lose them and that would not serve the interest of our students,” replied Jacobs. “He did what he called the free tuition –which is really not fee because it would only paying for tuition not the other costs and everybody who has gone to a SUNY school knows all the other costs are more than the tuition.”

Meanwhile, democrats in the Assembly are supporting the Governor's plan, but have called for an increase in his eligibility for families. That plan would boost it for families earning $150-thousand a year.  

The full legislature must decide on a final plan for the new state budget.