In late August, Governor Hochul announced a $150 million initiative to expand the state tuition assistance program (TAP) to part-time CUNY and SUNY students. For nearly a decade now, CUF has urged state policymakers to make part-time students eligible for the state’s main tuition assistance program.
Our groundbreaking 2014 study, Tapped Out, revealed that fewer than 1 percent of CUNY’s part-time community college students received TAP awards. Another report we issued last year showed that fewer than 5 percent of CUNY’s part-time community college students received funding through another state tuition assistance program, the Aid for Part-Time Study program.
Our most recent 2022 report on TAP, Supporting CUNY’s 79,000 Part-Time Students, applauded Governor Hochul’s proposal to extend TAP to this population, and urged the Legislature to get behind the plan and make it a reality in 2022. The report made the case that tens of thousands of low-income students would benefit if New York State moved forward with the governor’s plan.
The study showed that nearly 79,000 undergraduate students at CUNY attend school on a part-time basis—amounting to more than 40 percent of the CUNY’s community college students and nearly one-third of all CUNY students. But currently, most part-time students are shut out of the state’s main financial aid program. We commend New York State for making an investment in New York’s part-time CUNY students.
CUF has published longstanding research and op-eds over the past decade calling attention to the challenges facing New York's part-time students and what policymakers can do to support them, including "Boost equity with TAP access for part-time students", The New Normal: Supporting Nontraditional Students on the Path to a Degree, "Tap Into Part-Time Students", and "Tap Reform: Part-Time College Students Need Financial Aid Too".