LETTER: Expansion of New York Excelsior program is step in right direction

Daily Freeman-11 months before

Kudos to state Sen. Jen Metzger and Assemblyman John Jacobson for recognizing that the New York Excelsior program, which offers free tuition to eligible SUNY students, is inadequate and does not respond to the complexities of higher education ("NY lawmakers from Mid-Hudson Valley propose expansion of SUNY/CUNY tuition aid," Jan. 27, 2020).

...-hudson-valley-propose-expansion-of-suny/article_b465a584-4120-11ea-b549-873aaa003a6f.html">NY lawmakers from Mid-Hudson Valley propose expansion of SUNY/CUNY tuition aid The two lawmakers have proposed a bill (A7486/S5821) to expand the benefits to part-time students attending not only SUNY and CUNY institutions but also BOCES and other credentialed vocational programs in SUNY and CUNY units.

The Excelsior program notably aims to support SUNY students’ graduation goals, but it fails students who, because of family obligations and/or financial limitations, cannot attend full-time. Many SUNY community college students are challenged by these restrictions, and they are no less deserving of Excelsior funding.

Moreover, four-year graduate degrees are not the only measure of success for all students or their institutions. Some individuals attend community colleges as returning students who need to upgrade workplace skills, even as they hold jobs. BOCES students similarly might be working part-time jobs as they explore possible careers in their part-time classes.

Metzger has built a record as a problem solver for both present and future challenges. She recognizes that education, like conversion to sustainable energy resources, are investments in our families today and in the next generations.

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