Increased higher education access in 2024-25 NY budget

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Lawmakers finalized the 2024-2025 New York State Budget on Saturday. This budget includes initiatives to expand higher education access and invest in colleges and universities.

The initiative to expand access to higher education includes the requirement of school districts to have every high school senior complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New York State Dream Act Application. Those who wish to opt out of the application must sign a waiver acknowledging that they are passing on available financial aid.

The minimum Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award will be increased from $500 to $1,000. The budget also increases TAP eligibility limits with the dependent student’s net taxable income (NTI) limit going from $80,000 to $125,000. The independent married student NTI limit will increase from $40,000 to $60,000 and the independent single student NTI will increase from $10,000 to $30,000.

As for investing in colleges and universities, $150 million will go toward SUNY State-operated campuses, $100 million for SUNY Downstate, and $146 million for CUNY senior colleges. $22.5 million will be for targeted investments including $2.75 million for the SUNY Empire State Service Corps and $4 million investment into CUNY School of Medicine.

$1.13 billion will go to maintaining facilities on SUNY state-operated campuses and CUNY senior colleges. $710 million will go to SUNY and $424 million to CUNY.

$13.3 million will go toward community colleges, with $8 million for SUNY and $5.3 million for CUNY. $154 million will also go towards capital projects at community colleges with $138 million for SUNY and $16 million for CUNY.

$40 million will fund competitive matching capital grants for eligible private colleges and universities. This is called the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program (HECap).

“When my dad got his college degree, our family’s life was changed forever. I want every New York student to have that opportunity,” Governor Hochul said. “In the FY 2025 Enacted Budget, we are taking critical steps toward expanding access to financial aid and ensure every New York student can continue their education.” 

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