ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Senate Democratic Majority will advance legislation to improve resources and support for higher education systems in New York. The Majority says this package will ensure sufficient on-campus resources for veterans and grant veterans academic credits to state universities based on their military service and experiences.

Additionally, these bills will standardize the award schedule of the Tuition Assistance Program for dependent and independent students, create a task force to study refinance options for private student loans, and protect the privacy rights of immigrant students on campus.

“The years our students spend in higher education will help shape the trajectory of their lives,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “New York is, and will continue to be, a national leader in offering quality college and advanced education opportunities. SUNY is the largest university system in the nation and CUNY is the nation’s largest urban public university.”

The legislation being passed by the Senate Majority includes: 

  • Helping veterans in state colleges: This bill, sponsored by Senator James Sanders Jr., will require SUNY and CUNY to examine and conduct a study on the availability of campus services, programs and resources for veteran students.
  • Providing SUNY/CUNY veteran credit: This bill, sponsored by Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, will allow state operated institutions to grant academic credit to veterans based on military experiences.
  • Protecting immigrant student privacy: This bill, sponsored by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, will prohibit any employee or officer of a CUNY or SUNY university to request the specific details of a student’s immigration status. Exceptions to this are when it is required by federal law, pursuant to a court order, or as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility.
  • Helping returning students and update their TAP Award amounts: These two bills, sponsored by Senator Stavisky, will update the tuition assistance program. In doing so, this will increase award amounts to current rates for dependent and independent students at degree-granting colleges. This will incentivize students to continue their education.
  • Standing up for borrowers and creating the Student Loan Refinance Task Force: This bill, sponsored by Senator Tim Kennedy, will establish a private student loan refinance task force, made of various lending experts, including legislative and state representatives. to come up with solutions to benefit borrowers.