College is increasingly expensive. The Brookings Institution estimates Americans owe a mind-boggling $1.3 trillion in student loans, second only to mortgages as the largest household debt. At the same time, the benefits of having a degree are abundant and everyone deserves a chance to have an education at an affordable price. In New York’s dismal economy, families struggling to balance the check-book month-to-month often face tough decisions about how much to put away in a college savings fund. Sadly, New Yorkers are too often forced to choose between paying the electric bill and starting to plan for their children’s future.
The Assembly Minority Conference has fought to improve New York’s difficult tax climate and has also passionately advocated for measures to ease the burden of saving and paying for college. September is National College Savings Month, and I hope each legislator takes some time to consider the considerable strain New York's families are facing.
ASSEMBLY MINORITY CONFERENCE OFFERS ANSWERS
This past legislative session, proposal after proposal from the Assembly Minority Conference was either stalled or ignored by the Assembly Majority. Their willingness to turn a blind eye to the struggles of families hoping to save for college is shameful. Despite the Majority’s unwillingness to help New York’s families and students, my colleagues and I continue to offer numerous proposals to help mitigate the cost of a college degree, including:
- A.2753 (Kolb) - Creates the Affordable College Education Scholarship (ACES) Program, which allows eligible resident students to earn an affordable bachelor’s degree at participating institutions of higher education within the state at a total cost no higher than $10,000, or $2,500 per year;
- A.5214 (Kolb) - Establishes college supplies as a tax deductible expense;
- A.3049 (Malliotakis) - Increases the household income cap threshold for TAP from $80,000 to $100,000;
- A.3051 (Malliotakis) - Includes graduate programs as eligible for approval under TAP;
- A.5809-A (Lupinacci) - Would have increased the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $6,470 beginning in the fall of 2016 and increased the maximum income eligibility for TAP from $80,000 to $100,000; and
- A.2976 (Fitzpatrick) - Provides full-time undergraduate New York residents a refundable personal income tax credit worth up to $1,000 for college expenses that include new and used required textbooks and laptop computers.
RESOURCES TO HELP GET STARTED
Liberals in Albany have been vocal in their desire to give taxpayer-funded tuition to inmates and illegal immigrants. It is a priority that insults every hard-working student who plays by the rules and still struggles with mounting college debt. Until the governor and legislative majorities get serious about addressing the staggering cost of college, consider some of the savings plans offered by allBusiness and upromise by SallieMae. No particular plan will work for each family, but it is always wise to consider your options. September marks the start of a new school year; perhaps it can also mark the start of a brighter future for an aspiring graduate.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.