College students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who were displaced by recent hurricanes will be offered a break in tuition costs at state-operated colleges and universities in New York.
The State University of New York board of trustees on Friday authorized offering the in-state tuition rate to these students at 64 campuses, following a directive from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier in the week. More than 200 students are eligible for the help.
“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.”
The rates will be in effect for the rest of this school year, saving the students thousands of dollars. SUNY’s board of trustees also urged the boards of 30 community colleges across the state and the statutory colleges within Alfred University and Cornell University to do the same.
Student leaders quickly endorsed the action. SUNY Student Assembly president and trustee Marc J. Cohen issued a statement saying, “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.