Tough times call for tough measures and often difficult decisions, both for students and university administrators alike.

All the more difficult, especially in these hard economic times, when the State cuts back on financial aid to students, often hitting the hardest those who are most in need.

The College Whisperer's good friends at the NY Student Aid Alliance report on cutbacks in New York's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and summon a call to action on the part of students and parents alike.

New York, not the most generous State when it comes to financial aid for college students (its TAP awards still stuck in the 1960s in terms of what the Empire State doles out), will now give students even less, just when they need a little extra to make the grade.
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Last week, New York’s Legislature and Governor finalized the State Budget for the fiscal year that began in April. Throughout the Budget negotiations, student aid funding saw ups and downs.

First, the Governor proposed cuts to Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) as part of a plan to close a growing Budget deficit. In a move to protect student aid, the Legislature then passed a revised Budget that restored TAP funding. However the Governor later vetoed these restorations, an action that the Legislature was unable to override.

In the end of this especially hard-fought budget cycle, here’s what the final agreement means: Every student TAP award is cut by $75; TAP for graduate students is eliminated, and the maximum TAP award for two-year degree seekers at two-year institutions that do not offer four-year degrees is cut to $3,925 from $5,000. These changes take effect with the new school year.

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It’s important that we continue to communicate the importance of TAP and other student aid programs to our state’s leaders. New York’s extremely difficult economic climate is expected to continue, and we need your ongoing support. With next year’s budget process already upon us, we will send periodic updates when your calls, e-mails and meetings with policymakers will help.

With the new academic year just weeks away, we hope that you’ll invite your family, friends, and colleagues to join New York’s Student Aid Alliance. Please share this link to encourage their participation.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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