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Presidents of College, SGA Issue Joint Statement Supporting Free Tuition

Presidents of College, SGA Issue Joint Statement Supporting Free Tuition


The following statement by SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum and Student Government Association President Michael Braun in support of New York’s recently approved Excelsior Scholarship program was released last week:

With passage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship, New York made history as the first state to offer free undergraduate tuition at all of its public colleges. SUNY Cortland, a nearly 150-year-old institution with a tradition of providing affordable education, is proud to play a role in this historic change.

Although we are eager to learn more about how the measure will impact us specifically, we share the governor’s vision of eliminating tuition as a potential barrier to education and his concern about mounting student debt. We also welcome the solid financial support provided to Cortland and other four-year SUNY colleges by the newly approved state budget. That includes the new funding to provide more digital resources for students, many of who find the need to buy expensive textbooks a heavy financial burden.

By increasing access to higher education among New York residents, the governor and the legislature have positioned New York to thrive in the quickly evolving knowledge economy. The Excelsior Scholarship strengthens the ladder of opportunity that allows families and individuals to improve their financial situation, and establishes an initiative that could become a model for making higher education more accessible throughout the nation.

Erik J. Bitterbaum, President, SUNY Cortland                                                         

Michael Braun, President, Student Government Association, SUNY Cortland