This page features a variety of resources for your government relations activities.

DISCLAIMER:

While the NYS Conference advocates for certain legislative outcomes, it is not a lobbying organization and we expect that our members and chapters will respect NYS regulations on lobbying. Activities such as letter writing and meeting with legislators are considered to be advocacy, not lobbying, as long as no money is spent on these activities. The NYS regulation on lobbying can be found here: https://jcope.ny.gov/lobbying-laws-and-regulations.

PRESS RELEASE:

Contact: Fred Floss, Chair, NYSC AAUP Government Relations Committee flossfg@buffalostate.edu; Mary Rose Kubal, President, NYSC AAUP mrkubalaaup@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NYSC AAUP Establishes NYS Budget Priorities

Albany, NY—January 22, 2021 

The New York State Conference of the American Association of University Professors (NYSC AAUP) recognizes that the current global pandemic has posed unforeseen and severe challenges to colleges and universities in our state, both public and private.

State-level budget cuts have severely strapped NYS TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) and EOP/HEOP (Educational Opportunity Program/Higher Education Opportunity Program). These programs help to provide funds and resources for students in NYS who, for any number of reasons, would otherwise be unable to attend a higher education institution. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted many of the inequities that exist within our overall education system. To ensure students across the state continue to have opportunities, restoring TAP and EOP/HEOP funding to cover the full cost of tuition and fees is critical.

“All families should be able to decide what’s best for their children and we know that a college degree is critical for long-term success,” said Sally Dear-Healey, Executive Director, NYSC AAUP. “These programs are a lifeline for students who otherwise would not have an opportunity for an education. The experiences they bring to the classroom provide an enriching environment for all faculty and students.”

Funding for TAP hasn’t changed since 2008, while tuition at both public and private colleges and universities has increased. Families still send their children to school, but now they must cover an ever-increasing tuition gap. That gap is filled with student loans that add an even higher debt burden to already stressed families. This is especially troubling for our EOP and HEOP students. “The continually flat funding of EOP and HEOP means that more and more of our most needy students are being priced out of higher education,” said Fred Floss, Chair of the Department of Economics and Finance at Buffalo State College.

Covid-19 has also highlighted inequities in obtaining mental health counseling. Campuses across the state are experiencing higher than normal demand for counseling, while they are cutting back services due to Covid-related financial constraints. Already taxed faculty in relevant programs are being called upon to act as counselors as well as to do the work of educating students. Funding must be provided to support mental health initiatives to support faculty and staff.

“Students are being called upon to work to support families in new ways, such as babysitting and home-schooling younger siblings, while many also hold employment as essential workers (nurses, day care, and grocery workers). It is incredibly difficult for them to deal with all that is being thrown at them at this time,” said Leah Akins, Engineering Science Program Chair, local union officer at Dutchess Community College (DCC) and Vice President of the NYSC AAUP.  DCC recently, for all intents and purposes, shuttered its campus counselling center by retrenching all full-time and part-time counselors and announcing that students would have access to remote counseling services provided by an outside company.

Additionally, recent national and international events have spotlighted the importance of diversity in our institutions of higher learning. NYS has provided funding in the past to continue to improve BIPOC representation within our college and university communities. It is crucial that this priority is maintained.

“As an educator, I know the importance of a diverse faculty workforce,” said Mary Rose Kubal, Chair of the Department of Political Science at St. Bonaventure University and President of the NYSC AAUP. “Students of color cannot be what they cannot see, and, frankly, majority students at predominantly white institutions also benefit from being exposed to faculty of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. My work is enhanced if I can partner and work with diverse colleagues.”

NYS AAUP Conference asks that New York State restore funding to the full SUNY tuition level, continue funding for a diverse faculty, and provide funding to support mental health programs. For additional information, please view the attached fact sheet.

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About the AAUP:

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), with over 50,000 members and 500 local chapters, champions academic freedom; advances shared governance; and organizes to promote economic security for all academic professionals. Since 1915, the AAUP has shaped American higher education by developing standards and procedures that uphold quality education.

The New York State Conference promotes the activities and values of the AAUP on the state and campus level. It has a Chapter Service Program to assist local chapters in the areas of recruitment, tenure, academic freedom, governance, leadership training, lobbying, legal referrals, and the economic welfare of the profession. The NYSC AAUP publishes its newsletter, New York Academe, three times a year; and has two Business Meetings and Conferences a year, one in the spring and one in the fall.

TALKING POINTS – NYSC AAUP Legislative Agenda 2021

January 22, 2021

This document has been prepared by the NYS AAUP Conference as an internal document to help our chapters and members advocate for our legislative priorities for the FY 2022 NYS Budget. While the state conference advocates for certain legislative outcomes, it is not a lobbying organization and we expect that our members and chapters will respect NYS regulations on lobbying. Activities such as letter writing and meeting with legislators are considered to be advocacy, not lobbying, as long as no money is spent on these activities.

The NYS regulation on lobbying can be found here: https://jcope.ny.gov/lobbying-laws-and-regulations

If you have any questions on the content or how to use this information, please contact:

Fred Floss, Chair, NYSC AAUP Government Relations Committee (flossfg@buffalostate.edu) or Mary Rose Kubal, President, NYSC AAUP (mrkubalaaup@gmail.com).

FULLY FUND TAP AND EOP/HEOP

THE STATE IS FUNDING THE DECLINES IN REVENUES ON THE BACKS OF FAMILIES WHO ARE LEAST ABLE TO PAY AND ARE THE FUTURE OF THE STATE. AAUP ASKS TO RESTORE FUNDING TO THE FULL SUNY TUITION LEVEL OF $7,070 OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS. EOP/HEOP FUNDING SHOULD BE INCREASED TO KEEP UP WITH INCREASED COSTS.

  • TAP, New York’s signature financial aid program, is structured to progressively serve New York’s lowest-income families. The program supports students across public and private higher education.
  • Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, TAP has enabled more than five million New Yorkers to realize their college dreams.
  • The maximum TAP award for our state’s poorest students has increased only once (and then by only three percent) in the past 20 years.
  • Up until the “Great Recession,” the maximum TAP award fully covered SUNY and CUNY tuition. Today tuition is $7,070 at SUNY and $6,930 at CUNY, while the maximum TAP award is $5,000, or about 70% of tuition. This puts NYS families at risk of not being financially able to send their children to college.
  • In 2015-2016 the number of FTE receiving TAP was 290,058. In 2019-2020 the number of FTE receiving TAP was 252,651. This is a drop of 12.9%. Over the same period expenditures dropped by $119,224,000 or 12.45%.
  • This is a chronic problem for the CUNY system where individual colleges must cover the difference between the maximum TAP award and full tuition. This has meant millions of dollars in cuts to their budget, without being registered as reduced state appropriations to higher education.
  • In 1974, SUNY/CUNY received $4,129 on average per student in revenue (combined tuition and state appropriations); in today’s dollars, that’s more than $21,000. This is roughly $7,000 less in revenue on average per student than the current combined tuition and state appropriations that SUNY campuses receive.
  • More than 319,000 students receive TAP, and 63,756 of them (20%) attend private, not-for-profit colleges. Those independent sector students represent 35% of the New York State resident undergraduates enrolled in private, not-for- profit institutions in the state.
  • Half (51%) of independent sector undergraduates who receive TAP come from families that earn less than $20,000 a year; nearly three-quarters (73%) have family incomes below $40,000.
  • EOP/HEOP was on track to have funding doubled by 2020, but recent years of level funding has pushed that target back.
  • EOP/HEOP is a transformative program that provides students with opportunities they would not otherwise have due to their academic or financial circumstances.
  • The program includes pre-freshman workshops, remedial help, academic counseling, and tutoring. These supports are critical to ensuring that students graduate.
  • 65% of EOP/HEOP students graduate within five years of enrolling, which is higher than the national average for bachelor’s degree attainment within six years (59%).
  • There are roughly 4,700 students (2,216 NYC, 2,560 Upstate) participating across 49 private, not-for-profit institutions in the HEOP program.
  • There are roughly 9,800 students participating across 47 SUNY campuses in the EOP program.
  • EOP/HEOP participating institutions are at capacity. HEOP institutions are required to match a minimum of 15% of the awarded HEOP grant; however, most are now matching more than 50%.
  • Because funding for the EOP/HEOP program has not kept pace with the cost of serving the neediest students, some colleges have been forced to end or reduce their participation.
  • Lack of periodic adjustments to TAP award levels and income eligibility thresholds have shut out needy students from accessing TAP. For example, although the inflation-adjusted median household income in New York State increased by 18% between 2000 and 2019, the TAP income eligibility ceiling has remained at $80,000 since 2000.
  • The state of New York saw its total student loan debt increase by 89% from 2008 to 2018, growing from $47.2 to $89.3 billion.
  • The average debt is $31,155 per student with 58% of students in NYS carrying debt.

Resources:

EOP/SUNY: https://www.suny.edu/media/suny/content-assets/documents/summary-sheets/eop_profile.pdf.

Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC): https://www.hesc.ny.gov/.

The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York (CICU): https://cicu.org/.

CONTINUE FUNDING FOR A DIVERSE FACULTY

PROGRESS MADE IN THE SUNY SYSTEM WITH THE PRODiG PROGRAM WILL BE LOST IF CUTS TO PROGRAMS ARE MADE DUE TO COVID-RELATED FINANCIAL STRESS. SIMILARLY, DIVERSITY RELATED INITIATIVES IN FACULTY HIRING ARE THREATENED ON PRIVATE CAMPUSES AND THE CUNY SYSTEM. FULLY FUNDING TAP TO COVER THE FULL COST OF TUITION AND INCREASING EOP/HEOP FUNDING ARE CRUCIAL TO ALLOW CAMPUSES TO PURSUE THE HIRING AND RETENTION OF DIVERSE FACULTY AND STAFF.

  • NYS faculty do not represent the diverse students they teach.  According to NCES, only 5.15% of instructional faculty are African American, while Hispanic faculty represent 4.52%, compared to 17.6% African American and 19.3% Hispanic in the general population (US Census).
  •  PRODiG (“Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth”) aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented faculty at SUNY including underrepresented minority (“URM”) faculty in general and women faculty of all races in STEM fields (“WSTEM”).
  • PRODiG is based on the principle that increasing the representation of faculty members who understand, and have overcome, race- and gender-based barriers and biases is important to the success and well-being of our students.  A diverse faculty is critical to academic excellence because as research demonstrates, diverse teams are more innovative, productive, and solve complex problems faster and better. Furthermore, Faculty diversity is key to preparing all students to live and work in an increasingly global, diverse and interconnected world by exposing students to a wide array of ideas, experiences, cultures, and individuals (SUNY Website).
  • SUNY Pipeline to Academic Careers. SUNY has created a Comprehensive College Consortium to fund late-stage pre-doctoral (ABD) and post-doctoral students interested in exploring academic careers. The consortium represents a collaboration among all SUNY comprehensive sector campuses. The initiative creates a more robust pathway into the academy for historically under-represented minority faculty and women in STEM fields. The PRODiG Fellowship Initiative is a model program designed to raise the pace of degree completion and build a more robust pipeline to the professoriate. Personalized mentoring is a key component of the program to develop fellows’ pedagogical readiness for future faculty appointments in addition to support for their scholarship and research.

Resources:

“Diverse Women as Guests in the Academic House” by Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner https://www.aaup.org/article/diverse-women-guests-academic-house.

https://www.suny.edu/prodig/.

SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING AND PROGRAMS

THIS HIGHLIGHTS THE NEED TO FULLY FUND TAP AND EOP/HEOP AS ANY FURTHER CUTS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING ARE LIKELY TO RESULT IN CUTS TO STUDENT SERVICES SUCH AS MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELLING. THE NYSC AAUP SUPPORTS THE PSC’S CALL TO INCREASE THE RATIO OF CAMPUS-BASED FULL-TIME MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS TO FTE STUDENTS TO MEET NATIONAL STANDARDS AND RAISE REVENUE TO CLOSE THE ESTIMATED $16 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT AND PREVENT HARMFUL CUTS TO EDUCATION AND STUDENT SERVICES.

  • Even before the Covid-19 pandemic and recent social and political upheavals, faculty noted an increase in the mental health needs of our students. In an (unheeded) call to action to save the Counselling Center at Dutchess Community College (DCC). An article by Rybacki and Tully (2020) notes that:“Recent research shows that student mental health was a top priority for college presidents even before the pandemic (Chessman and Taylor, 2019). National assessment data (American College Health Association) from Fall 2019 show rising levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidality—suicidal ideation, suicide plans, and suicide attempts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reporting on the pandemic’s effect on mental health, found that about one-quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed had “seriously considered suicide” in the last 30 days (Czeisler et al., 2020) . Covid-19 has amplified the substance abuse crisis in our nation. Nationally, and locally, deaths due to opiate overdoses have significantly increased (Ali, 2020). Many students in our diverse community have been hardest hit due to systemic disparities in health care, economic security, education, and employment opportunities.”
  • Adequate provision of mental health services on our campuses requires a range of services be provided by an adequately trained and staffed counselling center. The International Accreditation of Counseling Services standards indicate a standard of 1:1000 counselors for students and also specify that “the professional (Masters-level and above) staff of the Center should have status comparable to faculty at the institution.”
  • Given the financial strains facing our public and private institutions across the state, resources for mental health counselling for students, faculty, and staff are being cut precisely when they are most needed. For example, while there is still technically an on campus Counselling Center at DCC, there are no counselors as all part- and full-time counselor positions were completely eliminated and services outsourced to a call center. This is especially important for student retention in general and the retention of our most at-risk students in particular. A recent longitudinal study concluded that student psychosocial adjustment “generally worsens across the first 2 years” of college and highlights the need for prevention programs on campus (Conley et al., 2018). Covid-19 has revealed serious social and economic inequities in our society and higher education and mental health services are an important part of the picture.
  • Faculty mental health is also at risk. The CDC has reported that symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder have increased considerably as a result of the pandemic. In addition to increased caregiving responsibilities, social isolation, and concerns regarding morbidity and mortality, faculty members have reported experiencing chronic stress due to the pressure of transitioning to remote teaching and concerns about job security. An article in Inside Higher Ed reveals that “The early days of the pandemic took a toll on faculty members, but for many, peak stress is now, according to a new study of faculty mental health from Course Hero. Researchers for the study website surveyed hundreds of faculty members on and off the tenure track, across institution types, this fall. The findings suggest that faculty worries about the pandemic have morphed into chronic stress — with serious implications for professors’ mental health, their students and the profession as COVID-19 drags on” (Flaherty, 2020).
  • Flaherty also notes that “Perhaps most significantly, more than 40 percent of survey respondents considered leaving their jobs as a result of COVID-19’s impact. Early-career faculty members were most likely to be considered leaving, at 48 percent.”
  • “Another significant source of stress, for two-thirds of professors surveyed, was meeting the emotional and mental health needs of students, who are also struggling” (Flaherty, 2020; CDC).

Resources:

New York Mental Health Counselors Association http://www.nymhca.org/.

The College Counseling Division of ACA — collegecounseling.org.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm

https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/college-faculty-mental-health-philadelphia-covid-pandemic-20201216.html

International Accreditation of Counseling Services standards https://iacsinc.org/iacs-standards/#toc (note: PSC’s mental health counselor demand cites these standards).

Ali, S. (2020, October 20). Overdose deaths on the rise in Dutchess. Here’s why and how the county is combating it. Poughkeepsie Journal. https://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2020/10/20/overdose-deaths-rise-dutchess-hudson-valley/3480328001/.

Chessman, H and Taylor , M. (2019, August 12). College Student Mental Health and Well-Being: A Survey of Presidents. Higher Education Today. https://www.higheredtoday.org/2019/08/12/college-student-mental-health-well-survey-college-presidents/.

Conley, et al. (2018). “Navigating the College Years: Developmental Trajectories and Gender Differences in Psychological Functioning, Cognitive-Affective Strategies, and Social Well-Being.” Emerging Adulthood. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2167696818791603

Czeisler, MÉ , Lane, RI, Petrosky, E, et al. (2020). Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1external icon.

Flaherty, C. (2020). “Faculty Pandemic Stress is Now Chronic.” Inside Higher Ed. Faculty pandemic stress is now chronic (insidehighered.com)

Rybacki, K. & Tully, A. (2020). “A Call to Action: Keep the Counseling Center at Dutchess Community College (DCC).” DCC union newsletter DUE Points (Fall 2020) http://www.dutchessunitededucators.org/due-points-newsletter

NEW YORK HAS A HISTORY OF RAISING TAXES ON THE WEALTHY DURING ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS:

THE NYSC OF THE AAUP SUPPORTS THE UUP’S AND PSC’S CALL FOR THE CREATION OF NEW SOURCES OF REVENUE TO FUND SUNY AND CUNY AND TO REVERSE A DECADE OF INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION. MOST EXPERTS CONCUR THAT INVESTING IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND IN TOMORROW’S LEADERS CREATES JOBS TODAY. UNIVERSITY RESEARCH PAVES THE WAY FOR INNOVATIONS TO DRIVE OUR INDUSTRIES AND ALLOWS OUR STUDENTS TO GRADUATE WITH LESS STUDENT DEBT – FREEING THEM TO BE ENTREPRENEURS AND PROVIDING THEM WITH MORE INCOME TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES AND OUR UPSTATE COMMUNITIES. THE FINANCIAL STABILITY OF COLLEGE GRADUATES PROVIDES A FOUNDATION FOR STABLE FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES. THESE SOURCES INCLUDE:

Billionaires’ Tax: $5.5 billion in new state revenue annually

  • A wealth tax on billionaires would create a yearly assessment on the speculative wealth of billionaires, which includes unrealized capital gains.
  • This tax is projected to generate $5.5 billion or more per year.

Ultra-millionaires’ Tax: Two proposals

SHARE Act: Would generate more than $2.5 billion in new revenue yearly

  • The Shared Help Assessment to Rebuild Education Act (SHARE Act) proposed by Sen. Shelley Mayer (S.8329) and Assembly member Deborah Glick (A.10450), would create a higher income-tax bracket for New Yorkers who earn more than $5 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
  • The new revenue would go directly to public education and public higher education, with 85% to P-12 and 15% to SUNY and CUNY.
  • A flat tax rate of 10.90% would be created for New Yorkers who fall in that new tax bracket. It would generate more than $2.5 billion.
  • The income bracket would expire after two years. Senate Bill S.8164 (A.10364) would create more than $2.7 billion in new revenue annually.
  • Legislation proposed by Sen. Rachel May (S.8164) and Aravella Simotas (A.10364) would create a new tax rate of 10.32% for New Yorkers who make more than $100 million annually.
  • It would also create new income-tax brackets for incomes above $5 million and $10 million per year.
  • The proposed top bracket would be below the tax rates in New Jersey and California and affect about 4% of New Yorkers.
  • Since the state passed a millionaire’s tax in 2016, the number of millionaires in New York grew by 72% and their wealth increased by 54%.

Pied-à-Terre Tax: About $650 million in new state revenue annually

  • This tax, as proposed by Sen. Brad Hoylman (S.44) and Assembly member Deborah Glick (A.4540), would be an assessment on luxury, non-primary residences in New York City, with an assessed value of more than $5 million.
  • It is estimated that a mere 2% of the city’s housing stock would qualify for the pied-à-terre tax.

Reinstate the Stock Transfer Tax: Up to $14 billion in new state revenue annually

  • Enacted in 1905, this tax still exists in state law at ¼ of 1% on transfers on stocks and bonds in the financial markets. In the 1980s, the state began rebating the collected revenue to stockbrokers.
  • Reducing or eliminating this tax rebate would also cut down on financial “churning,” where money is moved around in the financial industry with no impact on economic productivity or our economy.
  • Sen. James Sanders (S06203) and Assembly member Phil Steck (A07791-A) sponsored this legislation.
  • During the Great Depression, Gov. Herbert Lehman raised taxes on the wealthy by 2%.
  • Gov. Nelson Rockefeller raised taxes by 3% during the “Eisenhower Recession” of 1958-1959, and 4.9% during the 1961 recession.
  • Legislators levied a 1.1% tax on the wealthy during the post-9/11 recession, overriding vetoes by Gov. George Pataki.
  • During the Great Recession, Gov. David Paterson instituted the state’s first Millionaire’s Tax in 2009, raising taxes on the rich by 1.1%.

Resources:

NYS Tax Policy | Fiscal Policy Institute

News | Strong Economy For All (strongforall.org)

UUP21StateLegAgenda.pdf (uupinfo.org)

https://www.investinourny.org/ 

ONE PAGE FACT SHEET FOR LEGISLATORS:

NYS AAUP Conference Higher Education Funding Priorities

NYS AAUP Conference supports three main New York State budget initiatives and progressive taxation measures to pay for them:

  1. A fully-funded TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) and EOP/HEOP (Educational Opportunity Program/Higher Education Opportunity Program).
  • TAP, New York’s signature financial aid program, is structured to progressively serve New York’s lowest-income families across public and private higher education.
  • Up until the “Great Recession” the maximum TAP award fully covered SUNY and CUNY tuition. Today the maximum award is $5,000 while tuition has grown in SUNY/CUNY to $7,070/$6,930 or about 70% of tuition. This has put NYS families at risk of not being financially able to send their children to college.
  • Flat funding of HEOP/EOP is pricing our most needy students out of higher education.

The State is funding the declines in revenues on the backs of families, many of them frontline and essential workers, who are least able to pay:

  • The state of New York saw its total student loan debt increase by 89% from 2008 to 2018, growing from $47.2 to $89.3 billion.
  • The average debt is $31,155 per student with 58% of students in NYS carrying debt.

AAUP ASKS TO RESTORE TAP FUNDING TO THE FULL SUNY TUITION LEVEL OF $7,070 OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS. EOP/HEOP FUNDING SHOULD BE INCREASED TO KEEP UP WITH INCREASED COSTS.

  1. CONTINUE FUNDING FOR A DIVERSE FACULTY
  • NYS faculty do not represent the diverse students they teach. According to the National Center for Economic Statistics, only 5.15% of instructional faculty are African American, while Hispanic faculty represent 4.52%, compared to 17.6% African American and 19.3% Hispanic in the general population.
  • We are concerned that progress made in the SUNY system with the PRODiG program will be lost if cuts to programs have to be made due to Covid-related financial stress. Diversity related initiatives in faculty hiring are also threatened on private and CUNY campuses. This is why fully funding TAP and EOP/HEOP programs is crucial.
  1. SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING AND PROGRAMS
  • Students in NYS are facing unprecedented challenges that require mental health support. Even before Covid and other social crises, the need for increased mental health services on college campuses has been well-documented by the American College Health Association.
  • Covid-19 has revealed serious social and economic inequities in our society and higher education and mental health services are an important part of the picture.
  • Given the financial strains facing our public and private institutions across the state, fully funding TAP and EOP/HEOP programs are crucial as cuts to higher education funding will result in further cuts in mental health counselling services on our campuses.
  1. SUPPORT PROGRESSIVE TAXATION MEASURES TO FULLY FUND HIGHER EDUCATION
  • Billionaires’ and ultra-millionaires’ taxes
  • Pied-à-terre tax
  • Reinstate the stock transfer tax