Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) in the College of Staten Island Library's Volpe Rotunda announces the Assembly budget proposal that calls for a two-year tuition freeze for CUNY and SUNY colleges. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Crawford)

STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE — A proposed state budget resolution will include a two-year tuition freeze for all City University and State University of New York colleges, according to Assemblyman Michael Cusick.

Cusick (D-Mid-Island) met with College of Staten Island President Dr. William Fritz and students on CSI’s Willowbrook campus Friday to discuss the budget resolution.

The tuition freeze is included as part of a proposed $1.7 billion allocation for higher education in New York State, Cusick said.

It will be part of budget negotiations with the state Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

[youtube][/youtube]”This proposal represents our unwavering commitment to provide a high-quality education at a reasonable cost for every student in our state,” Cusick said.

The $1.7 billion represents a 20 percent increase in funding for the CUNY-SUNY system, including $32 million for educational opportunity programs for middle- and low-income students, and $15.8 million for science and technology programs to encourage students to pursue careers in those fields, he said.

“I applaud the dedication to public higher education demonstrated by all our elected officials on Staten Island and in the Assembly during this challenging budget cycle,” Fritz said.

He thanked Cusick for his “support and advocacy for a robust budget for the College of Staten Island and the City University of New York to benefit our students, faculty, and staff.”

The CSI campus is part of Cusick’s district.

Cusick said the Assembly also proposes to increase the maximum Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) award to $5,265 per student, an increase of $100 from the previous year.

“TAP has meant so much to countless students and their families as they prepare for their higher education” Cusick said.

“Not only maintaining, but increasing the award amount is critical to making sure our students have every chance to attend and succeed at New York City and State institutions.”

This story was written by Diane C. Lore for the Staten Island Advance and March 11, 2016 and is reprinted here with permission.