In his budget proposal, Governor Pataki is seeking to cut Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) awards by one-third. While the New York State legislature has approved funding for state government operations through August 2, the state budget for 2004-5 -- and the status of the TAP awards -- remain unresolved.
The last, best hope for convincing state lawmakers to reject that cut may come the week of July 19, as legislative leaders push for a resolution prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention on July 26.
I would like to encourage members of the campus community to make their voices heard and impress upon state legislators that full funding for TAP is absolutely essential. Thousands of students at Ithaca and other higher education institutions in New York count on TAP to meet their college expenses. Now is the time for this community to share its perspective on this proposal with policymakers in Albany.
Ithaca and other private colleges and universities across the state are supporting an electronic advocacy system hosted by the Albany-based Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). You can add your voice to thousands of others opposing this plan to reduce funding for New York's signature student aid program.
Visit the CICU E-Advocacy website to send e-mail with your personal comments to your elected representatives and other important leaders. The system is easy to use and requires just minutes of your time. Also, you will be able to customize your message, which provides the chance to call for restorations for programs such as the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP). These programs are slated for a proportionally smaller cut of five percent.
On behalf of our students and many others, I appreciate your attention to this aspect of citizenship.
Peggy R. Williams
Contributed by Peggy R. Williams