Investing in Opportunity Programs

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Cuomo has worked to not only help with tuition, but also create additional programs to address the cost of attendance and help students with unique educational challenges.

These initiatives include significantly increasing opportunity programs in Open Educational Resources to reduce or get rid of some costs related to textbooks and expand the food pantries at SUNY/CUNY.

The 2021 NYS budget will reportedly make $213 million available for higher education opportunity programs and training centers which is a 57 percent increase since 2012.

Requiring Transparency and Accountability for For-Profit Colleges

The 2021 NYS budget includes for-profit college accountability initiatives that focuses on transparency and outcomes to help ensure students are well served in such schools.

A number of studies have found for-profit colleges correlate to negative outcomes for students, especially those who are low-income, a minority, and female students.

For the $45 million from taxpayer funds going to these institutions, there is a higher level of accountability and transparency needed. The budget will require for-profit schools to show positive outcomes for students and include basic disclosure of funding and financing, including compensation packages of senior leadership and ownership which includes any related bonuses or incentives.

Additionally, to help further protect veterans of New York from schools that target them for their educational benefits, Gov. Cuomo will work with the Department of Veteran Services to bring more transparency to for-profit schools, identify opportunities to clarify state and federal commitments to education, and make sure New York State’s veterans will be protected in the for-profit educational space.

Expanding College Student Enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits

Gov. Cuomo is looking to reduce food insecurity among college students so they can better focus on their studies and successfully graduate.

The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will set up policy to make more community college students eligible for essential SNAP benefits by establishing a state policy for community college students enrolled at lease half-time in career and technical education courses are exempt from the requirement to work 20 hours weekly to qualify for SNAP.

The policy change will reportedly increase the participation of low-income college students in SNAP and give them essential nutritional benefits so they are more likely to receive their college certificate or degree.

Stopping Abusive and Deceptive Practices from Student Loan Debt Relief Companies

Gov. Cuomo is adding protections to help protect New Yorkers from student loan servicing companies who reportedly have a poor record or serving their customers.

The companies generally charge student loan borrowers substantial upfront fees and promise to help them with consolidating multiple student loans into a single loan or alternative repayment arrangements.

However, borrowers can often achieve the same results through free government programs. The budget includes legislation setting standards for the student loan debt relief industry in New York.