The State University of New York Board of Trustees today authorized its state-operated colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition for the current academic year to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The decision comes quickly after Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s directive this week.
SUNY will begin working with its state-operated campuses immediately to ensure all displaced students receive the in-state tuition rate. Today, SUNY’s Board of Trustees also encouraged the boards of trustees of its 30 community colleges and the boards of trustees of the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred Ceramics, to take similar action.
“SUNY has a responsibility, as a public institution, to step in and help students when circumstances beyond their control may affect their ability to attend, pay for, and succeed in college,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “This is SUNY’s call now, as our students and their families are challenged by the devastation left in Hurricane Maria’s path. The SUNY Board of Trustees is proud to do what it can for these displaced students.”
“Today we see SUNY and New York State at their very best, as we stand together and extend assistance to a community in need,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “It is our hope that by easing the financial burden for students displaced by Hurricane Maria, they can stay in school and continue to work towards a degree. I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership in the ongoing relief efforts and thank the SUNY trustees for their compassion, professionalism, and generosity.”
SUNY students lauded the move: “SUNY students have shown time and again our willingness to stick together and offer a helping hand when times are tough,” said Student Assembly President and Trustee Marc J. Cohen. “We wholeheartedly support this measure, which will help to ease one significant financial burden for these incredible Americans as they work to rebuild their lives.”
“The expansion of in-state tuition rates is a much-needed reprieve for our brothers and sisters who have been impacted by recent natural disasters” said Carlos Cobo, a junior at Stony Brook University and the Student Assembly’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “In the midst of chaos, New York has once again shown its commitment to the greater community and reiterated its dedication to expanding access to public higher education of the highest quality.”
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, attended the SUNY meeting and said, “The obliteration of normal life on Puerto Rico is causing many hardships, including creating barriers to the higher education dreams of its college students. Today, SUNY has once again delivered decisive action at a time of great need and one that will further the education of displaced college students from Puerto Rico. The decision by SUNY Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Chairman McCall and Chancellor Johnson, to facilitate the continuous and uninterrupted study of Puerto Rican college students in New York is a proud moment for this great institution and welcomed by everyone displaced by the disaster caused by Hurricane Maria.”
A copy of the resolution adopted by the SUNY Board is available online.
Today’s action by the SUNY Board of Trustees aligns with Governor Cuomo’s continued leadership in providing relief and recovery assistance to those impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.