Earlier this month, hundreds of college students from over 70 colleges in New York State traveled to Albany, NY to argue for the continued funding of valuable state tuition programs. Seven of Nyack College's students took part in this very important event. They had the opportunity to speak frankly with our local representatives and their aides about the proposed budget cuts to a number of programs including TAP and HEOP. A common appeal from students was maintaining TAP as a grant and not converting this to a loan as Governor David Paterson is proposing.
New York State Assemblywomen Sandra Galef (90th District) and Ellen Jaffee (95th District) listened intently as the students stressed the importance of programs like HEOP and TAP that enable them to attend college. Antionettea Allen, a junior at Nyack says, “I felt Assemblywomen Jaffe had a heart for the students because she could identify with our financial needs.”
Assistants Steven Powers and Rebecca Gregory for New York State Senator Thomas Morahan and Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt took notes and recommended that all students living in New York State pay a visit to the offices of their local representative to ensure that their voices are heard. Nyack students were given an impromptu meeting with a representative from Governor Paterson’s office, who assured them that the governor is aware of the value of HEOP and the need to keep the program funded.
“There's still a need for student, family, faculty, staff and alumni advocacy with Albany Legislators for TAP, HEOP, Direct Institutional Aid, "Bundy Aid" and the New York Higher Education Loan Program (NYHELPS)," comments Earl Miller, Nyack's Executive Director of Community Relations. Following his recent trip to Albany, he points out, "With another billion dollars still needed to be cut from the governor's proposed budget, this year's state higher education funds are yet to be finalized.”
Look for two print pieces, "2009-10 State Legislative Priorities for New York's Independent Sector of Higher Education: and "Stand Up for Student Aid," two Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities publications about current education budget issues and how to continue lobbying for student aid. Copies will be available at Admissions and Student Financial Services Offices, as well as campus post offices.