Student Aid Advocates Rally for Funding for Critical Student Aid Programs
Several Clarkson University students were among a gathering of more than 1,000 high school and college students from across New York who convened in Albany to advocate for student aid funding during the annual New York Student Aid Alliance Advocacy Day.
Bundy Aid, the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), the Science and Technology Entry programs (STEP/C-STEP), the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) saw proposed funding cuts of a combined $50 million in this year’s Executive Budget. On Tuesday, students met with lawmakers from across the state to urge them to restore critical student aid funding.
During a student “speak-out,” high school and college students shared their personal stories about the value of student aid programs and opportunity programs like Bundy Aid, the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), the Science and Technology Entry programs (STEP/C-STEP), the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
"Student aid means the opportunity to follow my dream,” said Clarkson University student Hawa Drame, ’21. “Without student aid, I would not have been able to attend college and find a passion for global supply chain. Student aid is not just financial, but it’s also emotional aid. Student aid allows me to find common ground and stability with myself."
Students from about 65 public and private, not-for-profit campuses attended the rally to show their support for student aid programs and urge lawmakers to restore student aid funding. A virtual Advocacy Day was held simultaneously on Twitter with students and supporters from across the state sharing stories about what student aid and opportunity programs have meant to them using the hashtag #StandUp4StudentAid.
“Student aid allows us to give students the opportunity to attend college who without this aid, would probably have not gotten the chance to,” said Kelvin Herrera-Hassan ’14, Assistant Director of HEOP at Clarkson. “Also, being a graduate of the HEOP program, I can honestly say that without the help the Clarkson University HEOP gave me, I would not be where I am today. Being a part of Advocacy Day was imperative because we needed to show why programs like this need to continue being funded so that we can continue to give more students an opportunity to better themselves!”
Students across New York rely on student aid programs to enable them to achieve their college dreams. For example, Bundy Aid, a 50-year-old state aid program that provides funds for student aid and other student assistance at private, not-for-profit colleges and universities. Bundy Aid benefits nearly 500,000 students on those campuses across the state. The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) serves more than 300,000 New Yorkers attending college, providing them with more than $900 million in student aid.
The New York Student Aid Alliance is a coalition of colleges and universities and other stakeholder organizations that support funding vital student aid programs for students in New York. This is the 10th year the organization has hosted an Advocacy Day in Albany.