New York City – The State
University of New York Board of Trustees today passed a resolution in support
of equitable financial and educational access to higher education for all New
Yorkers, including its undocumented immigrants, as intended by the DREAM Act,
legislation recently defeated at the federal level but supported by President
Barack Obama in his State of the Union Address.
“The current demographic
realities of New York State indicate that many of the brightest and hardest
working students eligible to enroll at SUNY are of undocumented status, and it
is imperative that SUNY remain accessible to these students,” said Board
Chairman H. Carl McCall. “SUNY will work with stakeholders to develop sensible
legislation that provides this deserved access and financial support.”
“All New Yorkers, regardless
of legal status, should be eligible to receive State financial aid benefits and
in-state tuition rates as they pursue a college education,” said SUNY
Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “The concept of the DREAM Act is a noble one, and
we will work with elected officials and our colleagues in higher education to
ensure that that it is upheld in New York State.”
With today’s resolution, SUNY
joins the State Education Department, CUNY, New York University, the New York
City Council, members in the Federal and State legislatures, and advocacy
organizations in publicly supporting the passage of laws to grant equitable
financial and educational access to higher education for New York’s
undocumented immigrant students.
Under current laws, New York
State prohibits undocumented immigrant students from receiving State financial
aid in the form of general awards, academic performance awards, student loans,
and/or tuition assistance through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
The law does, however, allow
undocumented immigrants to enroll in institutions of public higher education in
New York and, if they meet other residency standards including graduation from
a New York high school or GED program, to pay the in-state tuition rate
The New York State Department
of Education has put forward a legislative proposal known as the Education
Equity for DREAMers Act. Additionally, there are several pieces of
legislation that have been introduced in the Legislature that would accomplish
the goal of providing equitable financial assistance for undocumented students.
The bills would eliminate current provisions requiring students to be a U.S.
citizen or permanent lawful resident to receive State financial aid and instead
extend TAP; authorize SUNY, CUNY, and community college trustees to provide
State-aided programs, scholarships, or other financial assistance to those who
have graduated from New York State high schools; allow students, regardless of
their legal status, to receive funds in the higher education opportunity
programs and the collegiate and technology entry program; and allow
undocumented students to have a taxpayer identification number to open a New
York 529 family tuition account.
Today’s resolution is not in
support for any particular legislation. However, it affirms the public support
of the SUNY Board for efforts to provide undocumented immigrants the
opportunity for equitable access to higher education by making financial
assistance available when appropriate.
About the State University of New York
The State University of New
York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States,
educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate
programs on 64 campuses with more than 3 million alumni around the
globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu