Governor Cuomo Announces SUNY Board of Trustees To Extend In-State Tuition for Students Displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma

June 14, 2018

From the office of Governor Cuomo

In-State Tuition to be Offered to Students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Supports the Governor's NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State University of New York Board of Trustees has extended the authorization for its state-operated colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition for the 2018-19 academic year to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. 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.

"The promise of quality, affordable higher education can lay the foundation for a lasting difference in the many lives upended during last year's catastrophic hurricane season," Governor Cuomo said. "With this extension, New York continues to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters whose suffering is being neglected and ignored by Washington to this day."

Approximately 35 students applied to SUNY under the in-state tuition policy in the fall 2017 academic term and fifty students did so in spring 2018. A copy of the resolution adopted by the SUNY Board is available online.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said, "Governor Cuomo's focus on the people of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands is significant on many levels, and at SUNY we are proud to continue his directive to provide in-state tuition rates as a way to help so many students still displaced by the devastation left by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. It is important that these students know they can continue their education and we will help support them to that end."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "The outpouring of support within SUNY for our fellow American citizens is heartfelt and unwavering. Today, our board of trustees honors our commitment to educate students displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. In just a few days, 100 of our students and faculty will join the people of Puerto Rico in their rebuilding efforts at home. It is truly our pleasure to provide this necessary public service and remind our students of the value of supporting each other in times of need."

New York's Efforts in Puerto Rico

Since Hurricane Maria's landfall in September 2017, Governor Cuomo has traveled to Puerto Rico four times and has continuously directed critical resources to communities in need. In the immediate aftermath, New York established the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, ultimately distributing at least 4,400 pallets of supplies collected from 13 donations sites across the state. New York State also deployed more than 1,000 personnel, including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help with power restoration and grid stabilization.

This month, the Governor announced the first deployment of volunteers for the summer-long NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative will depart on June 17. The volunteers will work with the non-profit rebuilding organizations All Hands and Hearts, Heart 9/11, and NECHAMA to clean, restore, and rebuild homes.

The deployment follows the first phase of the initiative launched on April 29, in which the Governor deployed a Tactical Assessment Team to develop a comprehensive rebuilding plan for the island. The Assessment Team's findings will guide the deployment of approximately 500 SUNY and CUNY students, as well as skilled workers from the building and construction trades, throughout the summer.

In response to the recently released Harvard School of Public Health's analysis estimating that the death toll of Hurricane Maria could be 70 times higher than the current official estimate, Governor Cuomo joined Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez's demand for a commission to immediately investigate the federal response, death toll and any negligence or failure to appropriately respond, as well as disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Congresswoman Velázquez is preparing legislation to establish the Commission.

Governor Cuomo and the New York Congressional Delegation continue to advocate for Puerto Rico to get the federal aid they need and deserve. In December, Governors Cuomo and Rosselló, and members of the New York Congressional Delegation released a Build Back Better Assessment Report that called for a $94.4 billion federal aid package to help Puerto Rico build back stronger. The plan identified specific sectors needing investments, including housing, power grid and resiliency, agriculture and others. Together with $487 million for public safety and first response and $9 billion for long-term recovery management, the total funding need is $94.4 billion.

In addition, in an effort led by SUNY Maritime in late May, more than 500 SUNY Maritime College cadets and approximately 50 students from University at Albany and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry volunteered with local non-profit rebuilding organizations, removing debris and preparing roofs for construction in the greater San Juan area.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2017, more than 430,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served nearly 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2016-17 academic year. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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