SUNY students ask Governor for ‘Maintenance of Effort’

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The Student Assembly of The State University of New York (SUNYSA) and the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) today announced a groundbreaking partnership in support of Maintenance of Effort and an accessible quality higher education in the State of New York. The Maintenance of Effort Provision which aims to increase state support for The State University of New York and The City University of New York was passed recently by both houses of the New York State Legislature. It now goes before Governor Andrew Cuomo who, in 2015, vetoed the same measure.

Through an online petition sponsored by the Student Assembly and NYPIRG, hundreds of students and supporters are calling on Governor Cuomo to sign Maintenance of Effort.

“This partnership could not have come at a more critical time,” said Student Assembly President and SUNY Trustee Marc J. Cohen who is a graduate student at the University at Albany. “We are calling upon every organization and individual who care about the interests of public colleges to sign on to our ongoing initiative. Governor Cuomo continues to be a strong proponent of accessible public higher education, and has proven to make it a central part of who we are as a state. We are hopeful that he will sign this critical provision as a full and honest Maintenance of Effort will put more New Yorkers to work, increase educational quality, and directly contribute to building the world’s most competitive workforce.”

“On average, New York college students graduate with $30,000 in student loans,” said Smitha Varghese, Chair of NYPIRG Board of Directors and CUNY Queens College student. “With capital chains weighing us down, we are then expected to work for years just to make ends meet while paying off the astronomical costs that keep us down. The Maintenance of Effort bill will address this growing issue, and allow the government to rightfully foot the growing costs that college students simply cannot afford to pay.”

“I am very excited to be partnering with NYPIRG on a crucial initiative so important to all of the students we represent,” said Conner Wolfe, SUNYSA Representative and Chair of the Joint Maintenance of Effort Advocacy Committee which includes students and staff from SUNYSA and NYPIRG. “This is the start of an ongoing mutually beneficial relationship with the Student Assembly and NYPIRG to ensure access to a quality public education in New York and a full Maintenance of Effort.”

The petition is available online at www.sunysa.org/moe

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