With the passage of the 2017-18 State Budget, New York is now home to the nation’s first accessible college program. Subject to appropriation and based on availability of funds, the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is provided authority to establish application procedures and a method of selecting recipients to eligible students for a last dollar award of up to $5,500 (or actual tuition). Additional details can be found in the SUNY/NYS Funding section below.
More information on the Excelsior Scholarship Program is also available here.
The capital funding included in the enacted budget will allow the University to move forward with Phase 1 of the renovation of the Schuyler Building into the permanent home of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Phase 1 of the project includes exterior work like the installation of new, energy-efficient windows and masonry repairs. Additional details can be found in the SUNY/NYS Funding section below.
- The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University at Albany (CARD Albany) is a university-affiliated resource center that brings research and practice together in community settings. The budget funds the Center at $1.74 million, which includes restored funding of $500,000.
- Just for the Kids (Know Your Schools-for NY Kids) within the School of Education is the only New York-focused, evidenced-based school improvement program in the State that compares the performance of equally-resourced and similarly challenged schools, and then identifies the best practices that explain what relates to the "achievement gap" between high-achieving schools and lower-performing schools. This initiative was level-funded at $235,000.
The following are School of Public Health initiatives included in the Enacted Budget:
$261,600 in level funding for the Public Health Management Leaders of Tomorrow
program (PHLOT), established in 2006, that strengthens the public health infrastructure across New York by providing programs (e.g., tuition awards, internship stipends, leadership training and scholarships) designed to offer novel educational opportunities to state and local public health professionals, as well as to the next generation of public health leaders at the School of Public Health.
$522,000 for the Cardiac Services Program
*, a 20 plus-year, longitudinal research study that provides useful information about cardiac surgery and percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) in New York State.
$148,000 for the Center for Health Workforce Studies
*, a not-for-profit research organization that provides timely, accurate data and policy-relevant research about the health workforce.
$32,000 for Public Health Live
*, a monthly webcast series designed to provide continuing education opportunities on public health issues.
*These three SPH initiatives, along with 36 other statewide public health programs, were reduced by 20% in the Executive Budget. While funding was restored by both the Senate and Assembly in their one house budgets, the originally proposed reductions were maintained in the Enacted Budget.
Excelsior Scholarship Program
- Subject to appropriation and based on availability of funds, the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) is provided authority to establish application procedures and a method of selecting recipients to eligible students for a last dollar award of up to $5,500 (or actual tuition).
- The Governor estimates the scholarship will cost $163 million in the first year.
Eligible students are as follows:
- Attend a public institution
- If student was previously enrolled in college, they must have completed at least 30 credits per year, in the program of study, to qualify. If previous credits were in a private college, at least 30 credits per year must be accepted upon transfer in order to qualify.
- After acceptance in the program, students must complete at least 30 credits per year, and enroll in at least 12 credits per semester, in the program of study. HESC can prescribe limited exceptions to this requirement in regulation.
- In a student's last semester, they must complete at least 12 credits, with at least one course needed to meet graduation requirements.
- HESC will promulgate modified criteria for students with disabilities.
- Meet Adjusted Gross Income limits of $100,000 in 2017/18, $110,000 in 2018/19 and $125,000 in 2019/20 and thereafter
- Awards are limited to the length of the program (2 year, 4 year, or 5 year). HESC can define allowable interruptions in study in regulation.
- Must have their Grade Point Average (GPA) certified by their institution to indicate that they are eligible to successfully complete their coursework.
- Must agree to live in New York State for a continuous number of years equal to the duration of the award received. There is no requirement that the student be employed during that period, but they cannot work in another State. If a student fails to meet these requirements the award will be converted to a student loan.
- Tuition charged to recipients of the Excelsior Scholarship program is “frozen” at 2016/17 levels until 2021/22. Starting in 2021/22 and every four years after, the new “frozen” rate will be the rate approved for the upcoming year
- SUNY and CUNY institutions are required to provide an Excelsior Scholarship Program Tuition Credit to eligible students to meet the difference between $5,500 and the charged tuition rate. (Note that the repayment of this Excelsior Scholarship Tuition Credit is intended to be made by the State and is added to the re-introduced Maintenance of Effort.)
Predictable Tuition/Maintenance of Effort (MOE)
- The SUNY Board of Trustees is authorized to increase Resident Undergraduate tuition by a maximum of $200/year from 2017/18 to 2020/21
- The Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision Enacted with the 2011/12 budget, stipulating that State shall provide funding at a level equal to or greater than the amount of funding provided in the 2011/12 state fiscal year, has been restored starting in 2017/18 and ending in 2020/21. The State responsibility to repay SUNY for paying the Excelsior Scholarship Program Tuition Credit has also been added to this MOE, and funding has been provided in Transfer Language to effectuate the payment up to $20.0M
- Campuses continue to be responsible for the SUNY TAP Gap/Tuition Credit, which requires campuses to cover the difference between SUNY's current Resident Undergraduate Tuition Rate and $5,000
- $4 million in additional direct State tax support for State-operated campuses. UAlbany is expected to receive approximately $56.4 million, similar to last year’s level.
- $18 million for a third round of the SUNY Performance Fund.
- $8 million to provide open educational resources, including e-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY colleges to help defray the prohibitive cost of textbooks.
- $7 million for the Educational Opportunity Centers/ATTAIN labs.
- Restoration of $1.5 million for the Small Business Development Centers.
- Restoration of $600,000 for Graduate Diversity Fellowships
- $300,000 for Mental Health Services
- SUNY System, along with the University Center presidents, helped defeat a proposal that would have created an assessment on campus foundations.
- Funding is maintained for SUNY-wide critical maintenance at $550 million, with a $296.6 million lump sum for high priority critical maintenance projects to be distributed by the Construction Fund, $153.4 million allocated to each campus via formula; and an additional $100 million for new projects or facilities distributed with the same formula (based on enrollment, square feet, etc.).
$9.5 million in critical maintenance funding is maintained for UAlbany in addition to $6.1 million, for a total of $15.6 million.
- The amount UAlbany will receive under the $296.6 million lump is uncertain at this time, though we believe many of our projects are well-timed to move quickly.
- The capital funding included in the enacted budget will allow the University to move forward with Phase 1 of the renovation of the Schuyler Building into the permanent home of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Phase 1 of the project includes exterior work like the installation of new, energy-efficient windows and masonry repairs.
- Language authorizing use of “Design/Build” contracts that was included in the Executive Budget is not included in the Enacted Budget.
Note that legislation was provided to allow for the use of Design/Build for several (outside of SUNY) upstate capital projects, including the prospective Life Sciences Laboratory project
Student Financial Aid and Support
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)
- Increase of $19 million for TAP, for a total of $1.1 billion
- Restoration of $5.4 million for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), for a total of $32.2 million
- Restoration of $2.6 million for the STEP program, for a total of $15.8 million
- Restoration of $2 million for the C-STEP program, for a total of $12 million
- Restoration of $3 million for the Liberty Partnership Program, for total of $18.4 million
Report on Making College More Affordable
On June 30, 2018, the President of HESC is to deliver a report on making college more affordable. Such report shall include:
- Options for a program to allow students to refinance student loan debt for students out of college for at least 10 years
- Alternative methods to lower student loan debt
- A review student housing and costs at SUNY and CUNY
- Recommendations on programs and options for families to afford college, including pre-paid college programs
- Additional affordability options at public and private universities, including: reducing textbook costs, the cost of student housing, student transportation, reducing administrative costs and the creation of on campus jobs
- An exploration, in partnership with the SUNY and CUNY Chancellor, of how students who receive opportunity program benefits retain those benefits when they transfer or move between community colleges and four year institutions
NYS Child Welfare Worker Incentive Scholarship Program / Child Welfare Worker Loan Forgiveness Program
Would provide full cost of attendance scholarships (based on SUNY costs and not more than $20,000 if attending a private institution) to eligible students working in a not-for-profit child welfare agency on a competitive basis and agrees to remain working at such an institution for a five year period
The following economic development programs were also included in the Enacted Budget:
- $55 million for Round VII of the NYSUNY 2020 capital program (the RFP for Round VI has not been released yet)
- $150 million for a seventh round of Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) funding for investment in innovative plans for regional job creation and community development;
- $10.75 million for the Centers of Excellence (COE), restoring 10 COEs to $1 million/Center (includes $250,000 for UAlbany’s COE)
- $13.8 million for the Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT) program, same as last year’s level;
- $620 million to grow a new, world-class life science research cluster in New York and expand the state’s ability to commercialize research and grow the economy;
- $150 million in funding for a life sciences laboratory public health initiative in the Capital District pursuant to a plan developed by the CEO of the NYS Urban Development Corporation jointly with the Commissioner of Health to develop life science research, innovation, and infrastructure;
START-UP NY program remains unchanged, other than to eliminate the annual reporting requirement and replace it with a new, comprehensive economic development program report ESD must produce each calendar year.