Governor’s Budget Maneuver Insults New York's College Students

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today criticized Gov. Cuomo’s all-or-nothing budget tactic of linking the state’s college tuition assistance program (TAP) to the DREAM Act, a proposal to use taxpayer money on financial assistance for undocumented immigrants.
In his 30-day budget amendments released last week, the governor included language that would prevent any TAP funds from being used to help New York’s college students unless the Legislature passes the DREAM Act.
“Gov. Cuomo is using nearly 400,000 college students as pawns in a misguided and offensive political game,” Leader Kolb said. “This sends a troubling message to young men and women who have worked hard and relied on TAP to pursue their college dreams – your needs take a back seat to the governor’s political agenda.”  
In 2013-14, 372,527 New York residents attending college received approximately $935.6 million in TAP assistance. According to the state Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), more than 5.2 million New Yorkers have received over $22 billion in TAP funds since 1974.
The DREAM Act has been debated and voted on in the Legislature. It has passed in the Assembly, but failed to pass the Senate. The governor’s maneuvering forces legislators to approve the use of taxpayer dollars to fund college tuition for illegal immigrants or eliminate TAP for hundreds of thousands of students across the state.
“A policy issue as contentious as the DREAM Act should be discussed outside of the budget negotiations,” Leader Kolb said. “It has never been more expensive to go to college. At a time when costs and student debt are at an all-time high, it’s unconscionable that the governor is threatening critical tuition assistance for students.”
According to The College Board, tuition and fees at public, four-year institutions have risen 47.4 percent over the past 10 years. At private institutions, the increase is 64.7 percent. In addition, the average New York college student has a debt of more than $26,000.

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