Board of Trustees Calls on Legislators to Expand State Financial Aid Program and Preserve Student Choice in Higher Education
ALBANY (March 10, 2017) — The Board of Trustees of The College of Saint Rose, led by Chair and Saint Rose alumna Judy Calogero, today called on the New York State Legislature to expand the state’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for all college-bound New York students.
In a resolution passed unanimously, the Board of Trustees urged that the state raise the minimum and maximum TAP awards, expand income eligibility to include more families and expand proven opportunity programs such as the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Science and Technology Entry Programs, known as STEP/C-STEP. The Board of Trustees pressed the Legislature to expand TAP for all students instead of endorsing supplemental financial aid only for those attending public institutions.
Saint Rose President Dr. Carolyn J. Stefanco stated: “New York state has created and maintained one of the largest and most diverse arrays of higher education institutions in the world, one that with the Tuition Assistance Program treats all students equally whether they attend a private college or a public institution. This fair and equitable student aid policy should be maintained so that New York state remains a stellar example of public-private partnership at its best.”
Saint Rose serves precisely the population of students that the governor’s proposal seeks to assist: the low- and middle-income families for whom affordability is a significant barrier to a college education. Nearly half of the College’s 2,600 undergraduate students are eligible for TAP, and 41 percent are eligible for federal Pell Grants. Approximately 99 percent of Saint Rose students receive financial aid, and last year the College awarded more than $34 million in institutional financial aid to students. On average, 84 percent of Saint Rose undergraduate students are from New York state, making Saint Rose a primary educator of New Yorkers, particularly from the Greater Capital-Saratoga Region, Hudson Valley and the New York Metro area.
In addition, the Excelsior Scholarship could jeopardize the economies of the cities and towns in which private colleges are located. The College of Saint Rose contributes $89 million in direct spending, an estimated $228 million in total economic impact to the Capital Region economy and generates 1,760 direct and indirect jobs to the region, according to a recent study by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities.
“This is about student choice and about the future of New York state,” said Stefanco. “We share the goal of making college more affordable for more New York students. Private, not-for-profit colleges and universities such as Saint Rose are vital to the future success of New York, and students should be empowered to choose what fits them best.”