When it comes to their future, we all want to set our kids up for success. Education can unlock their potential and propel them to new heights. That’s why I’ve been working hard to invest in education and make college more affordable. With deadlines for state and federal student aid programs quickly approaching, I encourage all families to apply so more students can pursue the college dream without being burdened by enormous debt.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a critical part of applying for financial aid scholarships, grants and low-interest loans for students, and is also the first step to applying for the state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). The deadline to fill it out is July 31, and any changes to the application must be made before Sept. 16.
Last year, I also helped create the Excelsior Scholarship to provide free college tuition for New York college students whose families earn less than $110,000 a year. This historic program helps ensure that cost isn’t a barrier to our kids continuing their educational journeys. Students have until July 23 to apply. For more information, you can visit hesc.ny.gov/excelsior or call 888-697-4372.
I also fought to increase college base aid by $100 per full-time equivalent student for a total of $2,847 as part of this year’s state budget, as well as secured $2 million for Advanced Technology Training Information Networking (ATTAIN) labs so that more Central New Yorkers are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.
To get our kids on the path to college, it’s important that we support them every step along the way. This year, I helped secure a record $26.6 billion in education aid in the state budget, an increase of $914 million over last year.
And learning doesn’t end when school lets out for summer break. That’s why I’m encouraging Central New York students, from elementary school to seventh grade, to participate in the Assembly’s Summer Reading Challenge. All it takes is reading 15 minutes a day for 40 days.
Reading helps improve their comprehension as they move on to the next grade. And this year’s theme, “Libraries Rock!,” encourages them and all of us to discover the invaluable resources our local libraries offer. To help make sure our libraries have the books, events and tools to bring kids and families together, I helped secure an increase of $1 million, for a total of $96.6 million, for libraries across the state.
I’ll never stop working to expand opportunities for Central New York families and build a better future. As always, my door is open. If you have questions about this or any other community issue, please feel free to reach out to me by calling (315) 452-1115 or via email at StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.