Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that The City University of New York Board of Trustees has extended the authorization of in-state tuition for the 2018-19 academic year to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In-state tuition is $6,730 a year. For students from outside the state, it is $14,400.
“Providing quality, affordable education will make an incredible impact for those whose lives were devastated by last year’s hurricane season,” Gov. Cuomo said. “While the federal government continues to neglect and ignore the hardships that our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are facing, New York will always stand in solidarity and take action.”
The CUNY Board of Trustees had previously provided in-state tuition to displaced students for the 2017-18 academic year, following a call by Gov. Cuomo for CUNY and SUNY to offer the aid. Approximately 200 hurricane-affected students took advantage of the in-state tuition rate at CUNY colleges in the Spring 2018 semester.
CUNY Board Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. said, “CUNY is fully committed to supporting the governor’s efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild their homes and their lives. Whether through tuition relief or selfless on-site volunteer work, the entire CUNY community stands with its fellow Americans in a time of need.”
CUNY Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz said, “I applaud the Board of Trustees and Gov. Cuomo for supporting tuition relief for the upcoming academic year. This support will help displaced students continue their education at an especially difficult and trying time in their lives.”
Since Hurricane Maria’s landfall in September 2017, Gov. Cuomo has traveled to Puerto Rico four times and has continuously directed critical resources to communities in need. In the immediate aftermath, New York established the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, ultimately distributing at least 4,400 pallets of supplies collected from 13 donations sites across the state. New York State also deployed more than 1,000 personnel, including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help with power restoration and grid stabilization.
Earlier this month, the governor announced the first deployment of volunteers for the summer-long NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative would depart on June 17. The volunteers are working with the nonprofit rebuilding organizations All Hands and Hearts, Heart 9/11, and NECHAMA to clean, restore and rebuild homes. More than 2,700 CUNY students applied to volunteer for the NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative. In the past two weeks, 45 students from throughout the University departed for Puerto Rico to help with rebuilding efforts.
The deployment follows the first phase of the initiative launched on April 29, in which the governor deployed a Tactical Assessment Team to develop a comprehensive rebuilding plan for the island. The Assessment Team’s findings will guide deployment of approximately 500 SUNY and CUNY students, as well as skilled workers from the building and construction trades, throughout the summer.
In response to the recently released Harvard School of Public Health’s analysis estimating that the death toll of Hurricane Maria could be 70 times higher than the current official estimate, Gov. Cuomo joined Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez’s demand for a commission to immediately investigate the federal response, death toll and any negligence or failure to appropriately respond, as well as disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Congresswoman Velázquez is preparing legislation to establish the commission.
Gov. Cuomo and the New York congressional delegation continue to advocate for the federal aid the people of Puerto Rico need and deserve. In December, Gov. Cuomo, and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, and members of the New York Congressional Delegation released a Build Back Better Assessment Report that called for a $94.4 billion federal aid package to help Puerto Rico build back stronger. The plan identified specific sectors needing investments, including housing, power grid and resiliency, agriculture and others. Together with $487 million for public safety and first response and $9 billion for long-term recovery management, the total funding need is $94.4 billion.
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 23 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields. The University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.