College presidents urge Governor Cuomo to sign STEM legislation

News Date: 12/12/2017

A large group of CICU member presidents signed on to a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to sign into law legislation that passed both houses in 2017 that would allow students at private, not-for-profit colleges and universities to take advantage of state scholarships for studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. 


December 12, 2017


The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

New York State Capitol Building

Executive Chamber

Albany, New York 12224



Dear Governor Cuomo:


We the undersigned presidents of independent (private, not-for-profit) colleges and universities across New York State, write to urge you to sign into law the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program legislation (A.1808/S.2466) passed during the 2017 legislative session. Together, we support expanding this scholarship opportunity to all New York resident students.

Nothing is more important to us as college presidents than ensuring that all qualified students have access to a high quality, affordable college education. That is why collectively Independent Sector campuses provide more than $5 billion in financial aid annually, a threefold increase since 2000-01. The STEM Incentive Program scholarship would provide an additional source of student aid while also signaling to our most talented students that the state has a strong interest in keeping them here for their higher education.

The demand for college graduates with degrees in STEM fields continues to grow, and it is projected that New York will have nearly a half-million STEM jobs by 2018. This legislation will help New York meet that growing demand by encouraging high-achieving students to pursue degrees in these critical fields and then put their talents to work in the state.

The STEM Incentive Program, created in 2014, offers the top 10 percent of New York State graduating seniors a full-tuition scholarship to attend any New York State public college or university. With the expansion of the STEM Incentive Program, New York’s private colleges and universities can further contribute to educating the state’s next generation of leaders and helping New York meet the demand for STEM graduates which will in turn continue to grow the state’s economy.

Independent colleges and universities play a vital role in educating the next generation of innovators who will drive economic growth and enrich communities. In 2014-15, Independent Sector colleges and universities awarded 56 percent of the STEM bachelor’s degrees in New York State.  New York has a higher education landscape that relies upon the strength of its broad network of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities; we encourage the state to recommit to its longstanding policy of treating all students equitably. Students should be allowed to take the value of their state scholarship awards to the college or university that represents their best fit, where it can be used in tandem with institutional aid that our schools provide to further reduce a student’s cost of attendance. 

I hope you will agree that our colleges and universities are an incredibly important part of the state’s higher education ecosystem and form the economic base for many communities across the state.  We educate almost 500,000 students each year, contribute $80 billion annually to the economy and are responsible for 400,000 jobs.

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program legislation (A.1808/S.2466) will strengthen the higher education ecosystem and promote your commitment to college affordability, access and completion. We strongly encourage you to sign this bill into law.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Beth Labate, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities


Dr. Christine Riordan, Adelphi University

Dr. Greg Dewey, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Dr. Mark Zupan, Alfred University

Dr. Victor G. Alicea, Boricua College

Mr. John Hurley, Canisius College

Dr. Ronald Chesbrough, Cazenovia College

Dr. Anthony Collins, Clarkson University

Dr. Charles L. Flynn Jr., College of Mount Saint Vincent

Dr. Carolyn Stefanco, The College of Saint Rose

Dr. Lorrie Clemo, D’Youville College

Dr. Gary Olson, Daemen College

Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien, Dominican College

Dr. James N. Baldwin, Excelsior College

Rev. Joseph McShane, Fordham University

Dr. Margaret Drugovich, Hartwick College

Dr. Cynthia Zane, Hilbert College

Mr. Stuart Rabinowitz, Hofstra University

Dr. Shirley Mullen, Houghton College

Dr. John Strauss, Iona College

Dr. Shirley Collado, Ithaca College

Dr. Linda LeMura, Le Moyne College

Dr. Kimberly Cline, Long Island University

Dr. Brennan O’Donnell, Manhattan College

Mr. David Yellen, Marist College

Dr. Kenneth Macur, Medaille College

Dr. Timothy L. Hall, Mercy College

Dr. Vinton Thompson, Metropolitan College of New York

Dr. Drew Bogner, Molloy College

Mr. Daan Braveman, Nazareth College

Mr. David Van Zandt, The New School

Dr. Henry Foley, New York Institute of Technology

Dr. Andrew Hamilton, New York University

Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University

Dr. Michael Scales, Nyack College

Dr. Marvin Krislov, Pace University

Dr. Cathy Dove, Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Deana Porterfield, Roberts Wesleyan College

Dr. David Munson, Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr. Chris Ames, The Sage Colleges

Br. Edward Coughlin, Siena College

Dr. Dennis DePerro, St. Bonaventure University

Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz, St. Francis College

Dr. Gerard Rooney, St. John Fisher College

Dr. Conrado Gempesaw, St. John’s University

Dr. Donald Boomgaarden, St. Joseph’s College, New York

Dr. William Fox, St. Lawrence University

Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick, St. Thomas Aquinas College

Dr. Kent Syverud, Syracuse University

Dr. Susan Fuhrman, Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Bassam Deeb, Trocaire College

Dr. Stephen Ainlay, Union College

Mr. Joel Seligman, University of Rochester

Dr. Laura Casamento, Utica College

Dr. Sharon DeVivo, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

Dr. Jonathan Gibralter, Wells College

Dr. Ari Berman, Yeshiva University


cc:        Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor

            Robert F. Mujica Jr., New York State Budget Director