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Letter: Cuomo should not threaten elimination of TAP funding

Cuomo should not threaten elimination of TAP funding

While it is true that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s higher education budget includes some positive measures, his budget contains a potentially devastating hit to New York college students: the possibility that the entire Tuition Assistance Program could be defunded. Cuomo proposes that unless the DREAM Act (which allows TAP coverage for undocumented immigrant college students) and a tuition tax credit for elementary and secondary students attending private and parochial schools are approved, TAP funding will be completely eliminated.

TAP is a need-based college financial aid program relied on by hundreds of thousands of students across the state. By combining these issues, the governor is creating an “all or nothing” situation for these proposals. As a result, 300,000 students’ $1 billion in financial aid is held hostage to political negotiations.

Higher education is becoming more expensive and resulting in more debt for New York State students and their families. Packaging different reforms together on the same educational agenda significantly increases the risk and likelihood that students will lose more financial aid. While the governor deserves credit for the positive things he’s done, he deserves criticism for his bad policy proposals. State lawmakers should reject his political brinkmanship with student finances and instead focus on expanding access to aid.

Brett Shaw

Senior, SUNY Buffalo State

NYPIRG Higher Education Intern