ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — During its Tuesday, December 13 meeting, the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees authorized state-operated colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to students from nations granted Temporary Protected Status. Students who cannot return home, and prospective students seeking safety and opportunity, will also be granted cheaper tuition.

Several of the 16 countries with Temporary Protected Status have struggled with wars or natural disasters, including Afghanistan, Haiti, and Ukraine.

“This is a critical investment in solidarity and opportunity that sends an unmistakable message – evacuees and refugees are welcome in the Empire State,” said SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales. “We are proud to deliver financial relief to impacted students and their families, and we are hopeful that we can do more to help students around the globe continue their pursuit of an excellent college education.”

“New York not only welcomes and assists families from abroad that are facing great challenges; now we will encourage them to further their education at SUNY,” said Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Deborah J. Glick. “This resolution is the right thing to do for refugees and evacuees, but it is also wise to encourage more students from diverse backgrounds to enroll at SUNY who may otherwise have been financially prevented from doing so.”

Also, during the meeting, the Board of Trustees renewed the extension of in-state tuition benefits to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The Board first approved this measure after the hurricanes hit the islands in 2017.