February 14, 2011
from St. John’s University recently joined in a statewide effort to
raise awareness of the importance of New York State Student
Financial Aid by participating in the New York Student Aid
Alliance Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Commission on
Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). Students from St.
John’s traveled to Albany, NY and joined in advocacy efforts with
over 1,200 students, faculty and staff from 60 college campuses
across New York.
With the recent release of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed
Executive Budget, several critical student aid programs, including
the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), Graduate TAP, the Science and
Technology Entry Programs (STEP/C-STEP) the Liberty Partnership
Program and Direct Institutional Aid, are being negotiated as the
annual budget process commences before the April 1 deadline.
Four million New Yorkers have received state financial aid over
the past four decades. Annually, more than 330,000 students in New
York depend on state student aid programs to help them finance and
achieve their college education. At St. John’s, almost 10,000
students receive some form of a TAP award and the University
receives other forms of state student financial aid.
Browne, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations,
organized the trip to Albany and stated: "It is critical for our
legislators to hear from college students personally impacted by
budget decisions in Albany. In an increasingly competitive and
globalized world, the investments that New York makes today in
higher education will only help drive the economic engine of the
state and the rest of the country tomorrow and in the years to
The students from St. John’s met personally with members of the
NYS Legislature to discuss student financial aid issues including:
NYS Senator Jack Martins, NYS Senator Diane Savino, NYS Senator
Toby Stavisky and NYS Senator Tony Avella. In addition, members of
the NYS Assembly Members Rory Lancman, Francisco Moya and Mike
DenDekker made time to meet with the group of St. John’s students.
Highlighting the busy day was when Lancman escorted the St. John’s
delegation into the Assembly Chamber where they were officially
introduced and recognized before the entire Assembly.
Facia Class, a First Year student from Flushing, NY majoring in
Government and Politics, participated in the Advocacy Day and
observed: "I was given the unique and incredible opportunity to
personally speak to members of the NYS Legislature about the
financial aid college students receive and how essential it is for
our education and future. Honestly, if it was not for financial
aid, I would not even be in college. Speaking about how crucial
student aid is for me and others to state legislators, makes me
feel like I am more than just a statistic."
Alexander Marion, a Third Year Government and Politics Major,
added: "I was proud to step up to the microphone during the
"Student Speak Out" portion of the Advocacy Day program, where I
was able to express how important student financial aid is to the
students at St. John’s and all across New York."
Browne concluded: "The students that make the effort to travel
to Albany help to put a real face on the importance and
effectiveness of investing in higher education. Legislators get to
personally meet the beneficiaries of state student aid programs
while learning of their far reaching impact."
For more information, please contact Brian Browne via e-mail to
Students interested in learning more about important issues
impacting higher education in New York may visit:
For media inquiries, please contact Elizabeth Reilly, Associate
Director of Media Relations, by calling (718) 990-5789.