Advocacy: The Issues

Take a closer look at our 2023 NYSACAC Legislative Advocacy Day.

“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

- Maya Angelou 

NACAC Legislative Agenda

As the voice of the college admission counseling profession, NACAC advocates for the best interests of students and members.

Learn more about each of NACAC’s policy priorities here-

2023 NYSACAC Legislative Agenda

Click here to view the 2023 Legislative Agenda

In support of increasing student aid and support programs, New York State can deliver access and equity to all students, specifically those from historically marginalized communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has and is continuing to impact our students, specifically those of lower socioeconomic status. With this, the following are our focus of advocacy in this legislative cycle:

Also featured on this page for greater knowledge of our advocacy work:


Student Financial Aid

In New York State approximately 2.4 million people across the income ladder owe more than $98 billion in student debt. New York’s college students are an essential part of our overall economy and future NYS workforce; contributing 2% to the overall budget. It is imperative that we provide the needed financial aid support to our students. Especially those who are low-income and students of color, as these students are more likely to carry the burden of loan debt and less likely to complete their degrees.


  • The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $7,395 for the 2023-2024 academic year.

  • The current TAP award amount is $5,665.

  • The total cost of attendance at every four-year institution in New York exceeds combined maximum Pell + TAP grants.

  • New York’s students are still dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, inflation, accessing basic needs, and the rising cost of college attendance. 

  • The erosion of state support and the creation of growing funding gaps is translating into a decline in the quality of student services and education.

  • State aid is unavailable to students during summer and winter months, prohibiting students from earning credits during those times.

  • State aid can be used for tuition only, leaving students to cover significant additional costs of going to college; for example, to cover room and board, which many New York students struggle to afford.

Next Steps
In order to serve our students, the state must invest more into financial aid and pass the following legislation: 

  1. Assembly Bill A01889/Senate Bill S02811- Increase the tuition assistance program income threshold from $80,000 to $110,000 and $100,000 respectively. Both are currently in the Higher  Education Committee(s).

  2. Assembly Bill A1179/Senate Bill S00347 - Which increases the maximum years of study under the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). This legislation recognizes that more than 56% of students require more than eight semesters to finish their degree. Both are currently in the Senate Higher Education Committee(s).

  3. Senate Bill S01983/Assembly Bill A01164 - Require prior to awarding of a high school diploma either a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) to be filed or a waiver stating that they understand what the FAFSA is and have chosen not to file an application.  Both are currently in the Education Committee(s).

  4. Senate Bill S01287/Assembly Bill A00946 - Expands eligibility for the New York state excelsior scholarship award to certain applicants enrolled on a part-time basis or in a BOCES or other approved vocational program. Both are currently in the Higher Education Committee(s).

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College Students Experiencing Basic Needs Insecurity

Current policies and programming do not properly address college students’ basic needs including food and housing needs, with the situation growing more severe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • According to a recent report, 40% of college students reported experiencing food insecurities in 2022 (general population reported at 11%), compared to 38% in 2021, 32% in 2020 and 19% in 2019. 36% of students have been reported to have dropped out of college due to the inability to afford food, up 2% year over year. Another third indicated food insecurity has “impacted their ability to study”.  

  • In 2018, surveys reported that 48% of CUNY students struggled with food insecurity. At SUNY community colleges, 45% of students reported they were unable to focus in class because they were hungry. Those numbers were even higher amid the pandemic, which disproportionately impacted low-income college students.  While Congress temporarily passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which expands SNAP eligibility for students of higher education, this is not a permanent solution for students, nor is it applicable to all populations.

  • Housing insecurity and homelessness among college students is high and has risen even higher during COVID-19. Reports show that the rate of homelessness was 14% in 2021 from students at both two-year and four-year institutions. Additional counseling and support staff at colleges can help students address the mental health and logistical challenges associated with housing insecurity.

Next Steps
New York State can continue to address these issues by investing further in services for basic needs-insecure college students by supporting the proposed bills outlined below.

  1. Assembly Bill A02645/Senate Bill S02913 - Relates to establishing the “Hunger-Free Campus Act”; appropriation.  This legislation creates the hunger-free campus act, aimed at addressing food insecurity on public college campuses. Currently in the Assembly Higher Education Committee. (Senate Bill S1151 passed June 2022)

  2. Assembly Bill A00302/Senate Bill S02146 - Relates to requiring at least a ratio of one clinical, non-student mental health staff member per one thousand students on all SUNY and CUNY campuses. Both are currently in the Senate Higher Education Committee(s).

  3. Assembly Bill A00446/Senate Bill S01077 - Authorizes commissioner of education to do a study on food insecurity at private and public colleges.

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Bills to consider supporting the overall mission:

  1. Senate Bill S01040 - Relates to school climate and codes of conduct on school property and disciplinary action following violation of such codes of conduct; and makes conforming amendments.

  2. Assembly Bill A01338/Senate Bill S01509 - Establishes the commission on postsecondary correctional education to examine, evaluate, and make recommendations concerning the availability, effectiveness and need for expansion of post-secondary education in the NYS prison system. 

  3. Assembly Bill A00803/Senate Bill S00937 - Creates a commission to evaluate the need for community colleges to participate in the educational opportunity program.

  4. Assembly Bill A02038 - Permits students of SUNY, CUNY, or state-funded institutions of higher education to observe certain holidays without facing academic repercussions.

  5. Assembly Bill A02360 - Provides grants to SUNY schools, CUNY schools, and certain other degree-granting colleges and universities in NY to provide support and services for students with disabilities for postsecondary success.

  6. Assembly Bill A03321/Senate Bill S01079 - Prohibits awarding TAP grants to those enrolled at for-profit universities. 

  7. Assembly Bill A03295/Senate Bill S00948 - Requires for-profit higher education institutions to spend no less than fifty percent of such institution's annual revenues on expenditures in the areas of student instruction, academic support and advising, or career service.

  8. Assembly Bill A02663 - Adoption of Statewide innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks, supplemental materials, and other course materials.

  9. Senate Bill S00167 - Freezes tuition and creates a task force looking to create a report on the affordability of public institutions.

  10. Senate Bill S05047 - Creation of appeals process for students who are denied the state resident tuition rate at any public university or college.

  11. Assembly Bill A02298/Senate Bill S5827B - Requires senior high schools to provide a course on financial literacy and for students to complete such a course as a condition of graduation.

*Please note items 6-11 are Assembly and Senate bills that were introduced during the 2021-22 legislative year and we would like you to support and introduce similar bills during the current 2023-24 legislative year


In aid year 2020-21, the number of full-time, first-time students receiving any financial aid was 134,357. This is based on 228 institutions, limited by Degree-granting status, Control of institution and State.



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A note from NYSACAC’s Government Relations Committee:

Thank you for being a part of our Legislative Advocacy Day, and sharing your time with us. If you would like to further the conversation or have any follow up questions, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. We welcome the conversation and appreciate all the hard work you do!

A note from NYSACAC’s Government Relations Co-Chairs:

**Please note, none of this could have been accomplished without the hard work, dedication, and support of NYSACAC's Government Relations Committee members.

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