Statement by CUNY Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly, The City University of New York, on the 2014-2015 State Budget Agreement

The 2014-15 New York State Budget agreement announced yesterday by Governor Cuomo and the leadership of the New York State Senate and Assembly includes vitally important improvements in the operating and capital budgets of The City University of New York and innovative programs that strengthen educational opportunities for students.  Our preliminary review indicates that base aid for the community colleges will be increased by $75 per full time student and that funding was restored for campus child care centers, the Accelerated Study for Associate Programs (ASAP), The Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge Program (SEEK) and College Discovery,  with both of the latter programs receiving enhancements as well.

We strongly commend Governor Cuomo on the approval of his initiative to establish a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Scholarship program, offering full tuition scholarships to CUNY or SUNY colleges for the top ten percent of high school graduates who pursue a STEM career and work in New York for five years.   We are also very encouraged by efforts to obtain more jobs from employers for inner city youth by coordinating more closely the work of the Job Linkage Program with New York Youth Works.   Both of these employment-oriented initiatives are intended to further strengthen our State’s competitive position.    CUNY looks forward to continuing to work closely with public and private partners on effective implementation.

Although we are still reviewing the details of the capital budget agreement, we are profoundly grateful to both the Governor and the Legislature for providing significant campus facilities support ranging from critical maintenance, technology improvements, and campus building programs in all five boroughs of New York City.   State officials clearly appreciate the importance of collegiate environments conducive to learning and research in a marketplace that places a high premium on modern universities.

We also understand that the budget agreement increased support for the State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible students starting in 2014-2015 from $5,000 annually to $5,165, benefiting families throughout the State and the City.  As required by New York State, CUNY submitted along with The State University of New York a study last year on the State’s premier financial assistance program.    We look forward to continued review of its recommendations as the session progresses.