New York Senate, Assembly Introduce Legislation to Rename Grants for Independent Sector Colleges and Universities After Professor, Public Servant

News Date: 5/23/2022

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 23, 2022) – The New York State Senate and Assembly have introduced legislation that would rename grants provided to New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities the Leonard P. Stavisky Student Success Grants. If made into law, S. 9172 (Comrie) / A. 10436 (Hyndman), will more accurately describe this aid that benefits more than 450,000 students at 110 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York.

Named in honor of the late New York State Senator Leonard P. Stavisky, the Student Success Grants provide unrestricted aid to private colleges every year based on the number of students they graduate. The grants are used for student-serving purposes including financial aid, tutoring, summer bridge programs, and support for students with disabilities. Currently known as Direct Institutional “Bundy” Aid, the program has been in existence since 1968.

“On behalf of New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities and their students, I am grateful to the Senate and Assembly for putting forward legislation to rename these important student aid grants after Senator Leonard P. Stavisky. Independent Sector students are New Yorkers. They are our state’s future entrepreneurs, healthcare workers, and educators and they deserve our support. 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 society’s most complex and pressing issues. This legislation will help reinvigorate a crucial program that supports those students and invests in New York’s future” said Lola W. Brabham, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU).

President Brabham added “Senator Stavisky’s legacy embodies the mission of New York’s Independent Sector colleges and universities and the spirit of this important funding program — helping students achieve success in higher education.”

Sen. Leonard P. Stavisky worked as a professor and an administrator at several colleges across New York, including Columbia University, Colgate University, Hofstra University, Long Island University, and both the SUNY and CUNY systems. He represented Queens in the Assembly and Senate for 33 years, until his death in 1999. He was succeeded in his Senate seat by his wife, Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Higher Education.

Leonard P. Stavisky also served on the Education Commission of the States from 1979 to 1983, a part of the Interstate Compact for Education, with the mission to build working relationships between state policymakers and educators across the country. From 1975 to 1982 he held leadership roles with the National Conference of State Legislature’s Education Committee.

As a professor, Leonard P. Stavisky specialized in political science, public affairs, urban and ethnic studies, and Black history.

“I am honored to sponsor this legislation to rename these grants after Sen. Leonard P. Stavisky. His legacy as an educator, public servant, and fierce advocate for students will live on in this critically important funding,” said Sen. Leroy Comrie, who sponsors the bill in the Senate.

“I am proud to sponsor legislation to name these critical grants after the late Sen. Leonard P. Stavisky, a public servant who was devoted to the power of higher education. The Leonard P. Stavisky Student Success Grants will help countless students across New York achieve success in higher education by providing financial aid and funding for other important supports like tutoring, summer bridge programs, and services for students with disabilities. This program aligns well with Sen. Stavisky’s legacy as a public servant and an educator,” said Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman.

“On behalf of New York’s private, not-for-profit colleges and universities, I am so pleased that these grants will receive a new name that describes their true purpose. These grants are integral to private colleges’ ability to provide high-quality higher education to all students; the funding they provide goes directly to support students in the form of financial aid and other services like tutoring. The Leonard P. Stavisky Student Success Grant will help private colleges continue their mission of giving all students the opportunity to benefit from higher education, in keeping with Sen. Stavisky’s legacy as a public servant and an educator,” said David Munson, president of Rochester Institute of Technology and chair of the CICU Board of Trustees.

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About the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York: The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) is a statewide association representing the public policy interests of the chief executives of New York’s independent colleges and universities.

Founded in 1956 by a small group of private, not-for-profit college and university presidents, CICU now represents 100+ independent colleges and universities across New York State. Although not a government agency, CICU is an educational corporation formed under the New York State Regents. Its mission is to develop consensus among a diverse membership and to advance higher education public policy.