More than 700 college students who need help to pay tuition descended on Albany this week, including these folks from Mercy College.
They were there for Independent Sector Student Lobby Day with more than 700 students from 55 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in every region of the state.
In the event organized by the “Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities,”:http://www.cicu.org students attended advocacy seminars and conducted hundreds of legislative visits to discuss funding for higher education student aid programs.
Specifically, they were pushing for increases in TAP, the state’s tuition assistance program, and in the Higher Education Opportunity Program.
The Hudson Valley colleges participating included Bard, The College of New Rochelle, Mercy, Marist, Mount Saint Mary, Nyack, Pace University, St. Thomas Aquinas and Vassar.
CICU likes the fact that for the first time in five years, a governor’s budget proposal doesn’t cut student aid programs.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been seven years since TAP for undergraduate, dependent students has gone up; 17 years in the case of independent students, and two decades since any improvement in TAP for graduate students. We have failed to keep pace with an entire generation,Ã¢â‚¬? said CICU president Abe Lackman.
The numbers are stark across the country, according to the latest edition of “Postsecondary Education Opportunity,”:http://www.postsecondary.org/home/default.asp Tom Mortenson’s monthly report on the declining accessibility of higher education and the sorry state of government investment in it.
Here’s a quote from his latest:
State and local governments were the primary source of higher education revenue for a brief period between 1967 and 1991, according to the National Income and Product Accounts (OPPORTUNITY November 2006). However, the cutbacks in state investment effort in higher education that began in FY1981 produced large tuition increases to replace declining state support for higher education. By 1992 the share of the operating revenues paid by students and their families exceeded the state government share. This cost-shifting trend, from state taxpayers to students and their families has continued through 2005.
The long term trends are clear:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ From FY1961 to about FY1980 states aggressively expanded their investments in higher education to accommodate a population surge often referred to as the post World War II baby boom.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Then beginning with the two economic recessions of the early 1980s states began ratcheting downward their investment effort in higher education. The overall pattern shows sharp reductions in state investment effort in higher education during periods of economic recession, followed by a plateauing during the expansion phase of the business cycle. This has been the clear pattern in the recessions of the early 1980s, early 1990s and early 2000s.
Once these cutbacks in state investment effort losses occur during economic recessions they are not generally restored during subsequent economic expansions. The loss is permanent. The cost-shift from state taxpayers to students and their families becomes the new base for future state appropriations cycles.
Photo thanks to Raynell Web, HEOP Counselor at Mercy.