CICU President Lola W. Brabham Testifies Before Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Higher Education

News Date: 2/7/2022

CICU President Lola W. Brabham testified on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, during the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Higher Education. 

An excerpt of her testimony is below: 

By bolstering student aid and increasing support for proven programs, New York State can ensure access to quality higher education for all students, including those from historically marginalized communities and those disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The future of our state is in the hands of the students on Independent Sector campuses today. The nearly 500,000 students who attend private colleges in New York include 58 percent of New York’s future teachers, 67 percent of future nurses and other workers who will help address the state’s healthcare crisis, and 67 percent of STEM graduates.

These students need New York’s help to achieve their full potential. On behalf of our member colleges and their students, we urge the Legislature to adopt policies that ensure the success of all students.

Why Invest in Independent Sector Students

Two-thirds of students at CICU member colleges are from families that earn less than $125,000 annually. Nearly 60,000 Independent Sector students receive TAP, and the majority of TAP recipients have family incomes under $20,000 annually.

Colleges, and their students, are still reeling from the pandemic. COVID-19 cost New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities more than $3.9 billion as of June 2021 — a total that has continued to grow during the current academic year. Federal relief aid covered less than 22 percent of those losses.

Independent Sector students are New Yorkers. They are our state’s future entrepreneurs, healthcare workers, and educators. They deserve the state’s support while they pursue their degrees and prepare to embark on their careers. By investing in college students, New York can ensure more students succeed in their pursuit of higher education and are prepared to heed the call of service in response to the state's, and society's, most pressing and complex issues.

This is the year to make a historic investment in higher education in New York. The Governor has proposed a $1.5 billion investment in operating support and an additional $690 million in capital investment for SUNY and CUNY. The Governor was clear in her budget presentation that the State is on solid financial ground and noted that no budget gaps are projected through 2027. Now is the time to invest in a higher education ecosystem that supports all sectors. The State must increase its support of the 500,000 students that comprise the Independent Sector, to the benefit of the great State of New York.


Click here to read President Brabham's complete testimony