The Honorable Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Dear Speaker Silver:
On behalf of the members of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, I respectfully submit to you the Committee's 2006 Annual Report which highlights our activities over the last year.
The 2006 Legislative Session was an historic year for higher education support. The Assembly Democratic Majority was successful in preventing severe cuts to higher education. The 2006-07 budget averted the proposed $500 tuition increase for SUNY students and the proposed $300 tuition increase, and restored $119.5 million in cuts the Executive also proposed to the Tuition Assistance Program. The 2006-07 enacted budget overall provided $374 million in higher education additions over the Executive proposal.
Following a series of public Conference Committee meetings, the 2006-07 budget approved by the Legislature, after overriding a series of vetoes by the Governor, contained a total of over $194 million in State support over previous year levels for SUNY, CUNY and the community colleges. In addition, $119.5 million was restored to the TAP program, and increased community college base aid by $75 per FTE above the Executive's $100 per FTE increase. The Committee also included budget language creating a Part-Time TAP Program for students attending SUNY, CUNY and independent colleges and provided that catastrophic illness or being called into active military duty could be considered a change in circumstances for the purpose of determining a student's TAP award. The Committee also worked to increase capital funding for the State and City university systems by providing $483.86 million in funding for SUNY and $302 million in funding for CUNY.
However, the Committee's efforts were not limited to fiscal concerns. In fact, the 2006 Legislative Session addressed several pressing issues that reflect the varied priorities of the Higher Education Committee. Community Colleges will now be authorized to grant honorary associate's degrees. In addition, several new laws were enacted impacting SUNY, including: increasing the membership of the Board of Trustees from sixteen to seventeen, increasing the threshold amount for contracts to be approved by the State University Construction Fund from $20,000 to $75,000, and extending the volunteer recruitment service scholarship program.
Finally, the Committee's work included several legislative initiatives related to the licensed professions. Physical therapists will now be allowed to provide treatment without a referral. Nurses will enjoy title protection as only a licensed nurse will be allowed to use the title "nurse." Dentists and dental hygienists will now be required to use a thyroid collar during the performance of x-rays. Additionally, certified dental assistants are now able to perform any non-invasive, reversible supportive procedures authorized by the Commissioner of the State Education Department.
As you can see, much has been accomplished this year, but much still remains to be done. Thank you for your leadership and steadfast support of our State's higher education community. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with you and my colleagues toward our shared goal of ensuring that our system of public and private education remains the best in the nation.
2006 Annual Report
Ron Canestrari, Chairman
Audrey I. Pheffer
Richard N. Gottfried
Joseph D. Morelle
Kevin A. Cahill
Deborah J. Glick
Patricia A. Eddington
Darrel J. Aubertine
Luis M. Diaz
Michael J. Cusick
Roger L. Green
Donna A. Lupardo
Joel M. Miller,
Ranking Minority Member
James D. Conte
Marc W. Butler
Brian M. Kolb
Michael J. Fitzpatrick
Mark Casellini, Principal Legislative Coordinator
Table of Contents
The Committee on Higher Education is responsible for the initiation and review of legislation relevant to higher education and the professions in New York State. It is primarily concerned with policy initiatives affecting the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), the independent colleges and universities of New York, proprietary vocational schools, student financial aid, and the licensed professions. However, because of the complex and comprehensive nature of New York's system of higher education, the Committee has also been involved in shaping legislation in such diverse public policy fields as health care, economic and workforce development, technology, capital financing, and elementary and secondary education.
The New York State system of higher education has been heralded for decades for its quality and comprehensive service to the public with a full range of academic, professional, and vocational programs. The three components of this system include the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), and the numerous independent colleges and universities, proprietary colleges and schools located within New York State.
In addition to providing support to the state-operated campuses of SUNY and the senior college programs of the City University, New York State contributes financially to community colleges and provides direct aid to independent colleges and universities. The State also demonstrates its commitment to higher education through funding the country's largest state-supported Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).
The Committee on Higher Education also monitors the ongoing activities of the 47 professions, which the State Education Department (SED) is charged with licensing and regulating. Through careful consideration of legislation affecting the professions and through the monitoring of the professional discipline functions of the State Education and Health Departments, the Committee endeavors to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to ensure the maintenance of high standards and competence within the professional realm.
This report summarizes the activities and achievements of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education in each of its major areas of responsibility during the 2006 legislative session.
The 2006-07 Legislative budget for higher education provided $374 million in additions above the Executive proposal. The Legislature rejected a $500 tuition increase at SUNY and a $300 tuition increase at CUNY, restored $119.5 million to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and increased the Executive's $100 proposed increase to community college base aid by $75, bringing base aid to $2,525 per Full-Time Equivalent. Failing to come to an agreement with the Executive, and in order to resolve differences between the two houses, the Legislature held a series of public Conference Committee meetings that resulted in an on time bipartisan budget that restored many of these cuts to Higher Education. After overriding a series of vetoes by the Governor, the 2006-07 budget approved by the Legislature included a total of over $194 million in restorations for SUNY, CUNY and the community colleges.
This year, the Executive proposal increased state support for community colleges by $100 for each FTE student. Base aid constitutes the State's responsibility for its share of community college financing and is divided among the schools through a formula that accounts for each FTE student. Recognizing the importance of the State's support of community colleges, the Assembly has provided additional academic year funding of $17 million for community college base aid, adding an additional $75 on top of the Governor's proposal. This additional funding raises the State's share of community college financing to $2,525 per FTE student as compared to the $2,450 recommended by the Governor in his budget proposal.
In addition to restoring base aid levels, the Assembly also worked to maintain funding for other important opportunity programs. The Assembly provided a 10% increase above state fiscal year 2005-06 levels for the College Discovery Program and the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) Program at CUNY, and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at SUNY, and Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) as well. Funding for these programs has been an ongoing struggle that dates back to 1995 when the Governor initially proposed their elimination.
Unprecedented additional funding to augment the capital projects at the State and City community colleges was added in the budget passed by the Legislature. These funds, $40.94 million for SUNY community colleges and $66.58 million for CUNY, will greatly assist in providing increased flexibility to address critical maintenance issues.
Expanding access to public universities continues to be a high priority for the Assembly Higher Education Committee. In 1995, the Executive first proposed eliminating highly successful access and opportunity programs at SUNY and CUNY. Each year for the past ten years the Legislature has worked to restore these programs for the educationally and economically disadvantaged. Five years ago, the Legislature was successful in restoring each of the programs to their 1994 level. While that funding increase did not reflect the rate of inflation over the past several years, the base budget for these programs no longer contained a twenty-five percent cut across the board.
The Assembly was instrumental in securing additional operating aid of $45.7 million for CUNY and $85.33 million for SUNY to eliminate the Executive's proposed $300 CUNY tuition increase and the $500 SUNY tuition increase. Additional operating aid of $20.02 million for CUNY and $63.67 for SUNY was provided for programs above the tuition restorations. The Assembly secured operating assistance of $20.02 million to fund the CUNY compact and their University-wide Master Plan initiatives, including the hiring of additional full time faculty. Within the $63.67 million provided to SUNY, the Assembly provided $25 million to hire additional full-time faculty, $28.97 million in straight operating aid, $2.70 million for Educational Opportunity Centers, and $2 million for expanding High Need Programs.
This year, the Assembly enacted a $10.73 million increase for higher education programs, amounting to 10% increases in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), SEEK, College Discovery, and the Liberty Partnership Programs. This increase is above the Executive Proposal which failed to recommend any additional support for these programs. The Legislature did accept the Executive proposal to increasing funding for the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) from $9.5 million to $19 million.
Once again the Legislature rejected the Executive proposal to establish Partnership to Accelerate Degree Completion Time (PACT) programs at both SUNY and CUNY Senior and Community Colleges. If passed, voluntary PACT programs would have been created at campuses of the State and City university systems and independent colleges. Each participating public college would have received an increased allocation of funding from SUNY or CUNY.
In addition, the Legislature rejected the Executive's proposal to allow the SUNY and CUNY trustees to increase tuition annually using an inflationary index. The Legislature also denied the Governor's proposal authorizing the SUNY and CUNY trustees to charge different tuition rates among campuses and programs.
Additional funding to capital projects at the State and City universities was added in the budget passed by the Legislature. These funds, a total of $483.86 million for SUNY and $302 million for CUNY, will greatly assist in providing increased flexibility to address critical maintenance issues.
New York State is fortunate to have the most diversified and largest independent sector of higher education in the nation. According to the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), in 2001 twenty-six percent of the students enrolled in the independent sector in New York State were minorities. The independent colleges and universities of the State enroll 440,000 students. New York not only boasts the nation's largest private university, New York University, it also prides itself on numerous outstanding small colleges as well.
In many instances across the State, a college or university is the major employer in the community. Therefore, a strong independent sector of higher education helps the New York economy in several respects: through educating its work force, as an employer, and through the ancillary services in the community that cater to the student and staff population. Independent campuses throughout New York State have a collective annual economic impact of $41.4 billion, employ 139,000 New Yorkers and have a $7.5 billion payroll.
Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)
This year the Legislature rejected the Executive's failure to increase funding to HEOP, and increased support to the program by 10% in order to keep its commitment to help disadvantaged students gain access to private colleges.
Bundy Aid, formally known as Unrestricted Aid to Independent Colleges and Universities, provides direct support to higher education institutions based on the number and type of degrees conferred by the college or university. The Legislature increased funding for Bundy Aid by $4.2 million.
Tuition Assistance Program
New York State is fortunate to have the most comprehensive system of financial aid in the United States. At the forefront is the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which assists thousands of students attending college each year.
The Assembly Higher Education Committee is committed to keeping college affordable for students. This year, an additional $119.5 million was provided by the Legislature in restorations to TAP. The Assembly ensured this funding for students by also subsequently overriding the Governor's veto of the funding. In addition, the Assembly rejected the Executive's proposal to increase full-time eligibility status for enrollment from 12 to 15 credit hours each semester. The Legislature also rejected requirements for Colleges and Universities to pre-finance TAP awards for students with a G.E.D or who have passed an Ability to Benefit Test that is independently administered, and rejected increased Academic Good Standing requirements that the Executive proposed. The legislature rejected restoring TAP eligibility to students who are in default on their student loans, and the Executive proposal that students be in full-time attendance at the time a college certifies its enrollment. The Legislature accepted proposed requirement that students must successfully complete coursework before becoming eligible to receive payments for accelerated study. The enacted budget requires that students complete 24 credit hours in the two semesters preceding the receipt of an award for accelerated study.
The Assembly also supported the creation of a Part-Time TAP Program for all students attending SUNY, CUNY and independent colleges and universities. To be eligible, students would be required to accumulate 24 credit hours in the two preceding semesters. This program will be phased in beginning with students first enrolled in the 2006-07 academic year.
Additionally, the Assembly rejected the Executive's proposal to alter academic eligibility criteria under the TAP program, to require schools to certify recipients' full-time status within 45 days of the start of a new semester, and a proposal to deny TAP to students in default of federally-administered student loan programs or other education loans. Instead, the Assembly supported requiring an annual report by the President of the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) to the Governor and the Legislature detailing data on various aspects of the TAP program and provided that a catastrophic illness or being called to active military duty must be considered a change in circumstance for the purpose of adjusting a student's TAP award.
Scholarships/Loan Forgiveness Programs
Making sure that we help those who spend their lives helping us, the Legislature provided an additional $2 million for new scholarships for the Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Scholarship and the Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program, designed to help increase the number of educators and adjunct clinical faculty members teaching nursing education in New York. An additional $2 million was also provided to fund scholarships for the Regents Health Care Opportunity Scholarship and the Regents Professional Opportunity Scholarship programs.
Access to higher education opportunities has been a long-standing concern of this Committee. Over the years, the Legislature has created programs which provide special assistance to educationally and economically disadvantaged students, underrepresented groups, and "at-risk" youth - students who require additional support in order to achieve academic success. The Assembly has been committed to ensuring all students access to higher education and enhancing their academic success through the support of access programs.
Through counseling, remedial coursework, financial assistance, drop-out prevention, and skills training, these programs are dedicated not only to encouraging enrollment in college, but also helping to ensure success in the postsecondary academic environment. New York's Access Programs include:
New York State has 36 public community colleges: 30 within the State University system and six within the City University system. With an enrollment of approximately 281,419 students, community colleges provide a primary source of access to higher education opportunities. The community colleges of SUNY and CUNY are referred to as "full opportunity" institutions, accepting all recent high school graduates and returning residents from the colleges' sponsorship areas.
Community colleges are unique in that they are financed cooperatively by three partners: the State, a local sponsor, and the students. Community colleges are primarily governed by the local sponsor, assuring that these institutions have greater flexibility to respond to the local educational needs of their unique student population. Many community college students are non-traditional students who return to college later in life, attend part-time and/or combine work and family responsibilities with study.
Honorary Associate Degrees
A.2708, Pretlow; Chapter 324 of the Laws of 2006. This law authorizes community colleges to grant honorary associate degrees with approval from the Board of Regents.
Founded as the Free Academy in 1847, the City University of New York (CUNY) has grown into the largest urban university in the nation. CUNY is also the third largest university in the country and is comprised of 20 campuses throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. It includes eleven senior colleges, a two-year preparatory medical program, a law school, a graduate center, and six community colleges. Through this network, CUNY provides educational opportunities and skills training to an ethnically and culturally diverse population of approximately 220,738 students annually: 147,693 at the senior colleges and 73,045 at the community colleges.
Tuition Exemption for Members of the New York City Police Department
A.10894, Lentol; Chapter 150 of the Laws of 2006. This Law extends until July 1, 2008, Chapter 584 of the Laws of 2004, which allows members of the New York City Police Department who are enrolled at CUNY in a program leading to a baccalaureate or higher degree, to take one course free of charge on a space available basis, provided that the course is related to their employment as a police officer. Based on a successful pilot program at John Jay College, this provision seeks to provide an incentive for police officers to pursue higher education.
The State University of New York is the largest public university system in the nation, embracing 64 distinct individual campuses located in urban, suburban, and rural communities across New York State. These 64 campuses offer a full range of academic, professional, and vocational programs through their university centers, comprehensive colleges, colleges of technology, and community colleges. The State University system enrolls approximately 425,000 students in over 7,000 programs of study.
Membership of State University Board of Trustees
A.679-A, Canestrari; Chapter 127 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter increases the membership of the State University Board of Trustees from sixteen to seventeen. This seventeenth trustee is the president of the University Faculty Senate and would be an ex-officio non-voting member. This law also provides that the president of the Student Assembly become an ex-officio voting member and decreases the term of office for each trustee, except the student member and faculty member, from ten to seven years.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Opportunity Program and Opportunity for Higher Education
A.5824, Hoyt; Chapter 303 of the Laws of 2006. This law renames the Elementary and Secondary Education Opportunity Program and the Opportunity for Higher Education the "Arthur O. Eve Elementary and Secondary Education Opportunity Program" and the "Arthur O. Eve Opportunity for Higher Education" in recognition of the important role former Assemblyman Eve played in increasing access to public higher education in New York State.
Contracts of the State University Construction Fund
A.8666-A, Canestrari; Chapter 292 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter requires two or more State University Construction Fund Trustees to approve all contracts involving an estimated expense of $75,000 or more and all lease agreements. Previously, the Trustees were required by statute to approve all contracts greater than $20,000. This law will make the administrative process more effective and efficient.
Volunteer Recruitment Service Scholarship Program
A.10279, Canestrari; Chapter 125 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter extends the volunteer recruitment service scholarship program for members of volunteer fire and ambulance companies until June 30, 2010. The volunteer recruitment service scholarship program allows volunteer organizations to submit to the Higher Education Services Corporation one candidate annually to receive a scholarship award. This law also allows a recipient of a volunteer service scholarship to enroll in a degree producing curriculum at an institution located outside of the fifty mile radius of the volunteer organization, provided that the recipient becomes a volunteer at an organization whose service area is within the area in which the student is enrolled. Easing the burden of the fifty mile radius requirement will enable more students to take advantage of the scholarship program.
New York State currently licenses 47 professions under Title VIII of the Education Law. Legislation to license a new profession or to alter the practice of an existing profession falls under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Higher Education. SED, through its Office of the Professions, regulates the practice of such professions on an ongoing basis.
An essential component of the monitoring process is to ensure that existing standards and qualifications reflect current practices and needs, especially in light of shifting demographics and rapidly changing technologies. Each year, the Committee reviews numerous pieces of legislation which propose to change the scope of practice of currently licensed professions. Modifying current professional standards provide a means by which the Committee fulfills its obligations to protect the well-being of the public.
Authorized Professionals Appointed by the United States Olympic Committee
A.2339-B, Sayward; Chapter 128 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter adds certified athletic trainers to the list of authorized professionals appointed by the United States Olympic Committee to provide professional services to athletes and team personnel.
Providing Physical Therapy Without a Referral
A.5622-B, Canestrari; Chapter 298 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter allows a licensed physical therapist to provide treatment for ten visits or thirty days, whichever occurs first, without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner provided that the licensed physical therapist has practiced physical therapy on a full time basis for at least three years. This law also requires the physical therapist to provide written notice to the patient that the treatment may not be covered by the patient's health care plan without a referral and that the treatment may be a covered expense if the patient has a referral. In addition, this law increases the age required to qualify for a license as a physical therapist from eighteen to twenty-one. Finally, this Chapter requires a referral for physical therapy treatment provided under the motor vehicle no-fault insurance law.
Use of the Title "Nurse"
A.5816-A, Gottfried; Chapter 323 of the Laws of 2006. This law prohibits a person from using the title "nurse" or any other title or abbreviation that would represent to the public that the person is authorized to practice nursing unless the person is licensed or legally authorized to practice nursing.
Use of a Thyroid Collar
A.6780, Lupardo; Chapter 649 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter requires dentists or dental hygienists to use a thyroid collar during the performance of x-rays, except when the use of a thyroid collar would be inappropriate under the circumstances due to the nature of the patient or the type of x-ray being taken.
Defining the Practice of Certified Dental Assisting
A.7369-E, Morelle; Chapter 300 of the Laws of 2006. This law permits a certified dental assistant to perform any non-invasive, reversible supportive procedures authorized by a dentist consistent with regulations promulgated by the Commissioner.
Professional Misconduct Procedures
A.8417-B, Canestrari; Chapter 589 of the Laws of 2006. This law prescribes procedures for service of charges, notice of hearing, and engagement of counsel for cases involving professional misconduct. This statute will make the disciplinary process more expeditious and efficient.
Membership on the Violations Committee for Professional Misconduct
A.8418, Canestrari; Chapter 513 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter reduces the number of members sitting on a violations committee from five to three in order to make the disciplinary process for determination of penalty on uncontested minor violations of licensed professionals more efficient.
Alteration of a Boundary or Title Survey
A.8721-A, Canestrari; Veto Number 261. This bill would have provided that the altering of a boundary or title survey only be prepared for the specific purpose named in the alteration note on the survey map and not as a title or boundary survey of the parcel. The Governor vetoed this legislation citing concerns that this bill would go too far by prohibiting in all instances the use of an altered survey as a title or boundary survey.
Authorized Professionals Appointed by Ironman USA Holdings, Inc.
A.9549, Sayward; Chapter 131 of the Laws of 2006. This Chapter allows a person licensed to practice as a physician, physician's assistant, massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, dentist, optometrist, nurse, nurse practitioner or podiatrist in another state or territory who is in good standing in that state or territory, to provide professional services in New York to athletes and team personnel registered to train at a location in New York to compete in an event sanctioned by Ironman USA Holdings, Inc. This law was in effect from July 19 to July 24, 2006.
Citizenship Requirements for Licensure of Veterinarians
A.9614-A, Magee; Chapter 476 of the Laws of 2006. This law extends until December 31, 2009 the sunset provision that allows the Board of Regents to grant a one-time three year waiver to veterinarians who do not meet the citizenship or permanent residency status requirements if it is demonstrated that there is a shortage of otherwise qualified veterinarians. The holder of such waiver also has to demonstrate that he or she is making reasonable progress toward complying with the citizenship and permanent residency status requirements.
Mental Health Licenses
A.9702, Canestrari; Chapter 130 of the Laws of 2006. This law provides that Chapter 676 of the Laws of 2002 will not be enforced until January 1, 2007 for any individual who has applied for a mental health license by December 31, 2005. This law will give the Department of Education additional time to process those applications submitted before the December 31, 2005 deadline without penalizing the applicants.
Physical Therapy Assistant Services in Home Care Settings
A.10878, Canestrari; Chapter 148 of the Laws of 2006. This law extends until June 30, 2010, Chapter 534 of the Laws of 1993, which authorizes physical therapy assistants to provide therapy services in a home care setting without direct on-site supervision by a physical therapist.
Citizenship Requirements for the Licensure of Pharmacists
A.10879-B, Cahill; Veto Number 392. This bill would have allowed the Board of Regents to grant an additional extension of not more than three years to a pharmacist who had previously obtained a waiver from the citizenship or immigration status requirements for licensure. The Governor vetoed this legislation claiming concerns that the effective date of this bill could be interpreted to inadvertently repeal the entire citizenship and permanent alien status requirement from permanent law upon its expiration.
Property of Museums
A.10974-A, Brodsky; Veto Number 312. This bill would have established guidelines for museums that are governmental entities or not-for-profit corporations that have collecting as a stated purpose in their charter for acquiring the title to abandoned property and for deaccessioning procedures. The Governor vetoed this legislation, citing concerns that this bill does not provide adequate notice and other procedural safeguards to protect the rights of lenders.
The Impact of the 2006-07 State Budget on New York's Pubic University Systems
Supporting significant State investment in New York's higher education system has long been a priority for the Assembly Higher Education Committee. In 2006, the Assembly reaffirmed that commitment by rejecting the Governor's cuts in his budget proposal and by overriding the Governor's vetoes to critical higher education funding. This hearing was convened in an effort to gather information on the impact of the 2006-2007 State Budget on the public university systems. With over twenty witnesses, the hearing was well attended and offered testimony demonstrating the importance of funding for higher education.
State University Chancellor John R. Ryan explained in his testimony how the increase in State funding was used to block the Governor's proposed $500 tuition increase. In addition, the State University was able to hire over 200 new full-time faculty this academic year. The Chancellor noted that this number will continue to grow as recruitment of new full-time faculty continues throughout 2007. There was also a $175 per FTE increase in community college base aid and the State University was able to establish a new initiative called the Empire Innovation Program, which seeks to boost economic development across New York State.
Allan Dobrin, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer of the City University of New York, discussed the Legislature's full funding of the CUNY COMPACT in the 2006-07 State Budget. The CUNY COMPACT calls for a partnership between the State, New York City, the City University, and private entities to fund the City University's budget.
Alan Lubin, Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers, and William Scheuerman, President of United University Professions, both discussed the addition of full-time faculty at the public university systems. Mr. Lubin also spoke about the Legislature's restoration of the Tuition Assistance Program, the additional operating aid provided to the State University and the City University, and the $175 per FTE increase in community college base aid. Mr. Scheuerman noted the ten percent increase in funding for the Educational Opportunity Programs and the Opportunity Centers at the State University, which provide access, academic support, and financial aid to students who show promise for mastering college-level work, but who may otherwise not be admitted.
Dr. Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress, addressed the Legislature's restoration of the Tuition Assistance Program as well as the blocking of the Governor's proposed $300 tuition increase at the City University in her testimony.
President of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, Abraham Lackman, discussed the restoration of the Tuition Assistance Program and the creation of a part-time Tuition Assistance Program. In addition, Mr. Lackman noted the ten percent increase in funding for Bundy Aid, which provides direct support to private higher education institutions based on the number and type of degree conferred by the college or university, and the Higher Education Opportunity Program, which provides critical access programs for educationally and economically disadvantaged students who attend independent institutions of higher education.
It is essential that the public university systems remain a competitive and affordable option to ensure that all students have access to a quality college education. The testimony provided at this hearing will assist the Committee in its fight to make higher education affordable and accessible throughout New York State.
As the Committee looks ahead to the upcoming 2007 Legislative Session, many of the traditional goals relative to higher education and the professions will continue to have precedence.
Foremost among the Committee's priorities for the 2007 session will be to secure financing for the coming fiscal year sufficient to meet the needs of SUNY, CUNY and the independent sector and to support their unique missions. The broader goal of preserving access opportunities to higher education for students all across New York State is also critical. By continuing to fight for increased funding for access programs, the Committee will promote the recognition of these highly successful educational services. Another priority of the Committee will be to provide capital funding for SUNY and CUNY as well as the independent sector. Campuses throughout the state are in need of funding for critical maintenance as well as the expansion of academic and residence facilities. As always, the Committee will continue to focus on TAP and ensure the availability of the program at current or enhanced levels. The Assembly Higher Education Committee is proud of this comprehensive financial aid program and will fight to continue its success in opening doors to college students throughout the State.
In 2007, the Committee will also address several important legislative issues. Among these will be measures relating to the licensed professions overseen by the Department of Education's Office of the Professions. Chief among these will be initiatives aimed at preserving the integrity of the individual professions and ensuring that professional competence translates into increased public protection and safety. In this regard, we will continue to pursue increased funding for the Office of the Professions to proceed with investigations of unlicensed practice of professions, remaining committed to legislation adopted in 2003 providing greater authority to pursue illegal practice. In addition, the Committee will continue to study the evolution of existing professions to assess the possible need for statutory changes to reflect the changing needs of consumers.
PROFESSIONS LICENSED OR CERTIFIED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS
2006 SUMMARY SHEET
New York State Assembly
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