By Enza Macherone
While Union students were on break, New York legislators passed the state budget according to schedule for the third consecutive time under Governor Andrew Cuomo.
According to a Bloomberg article from March 29, “From 1985 to 2004, the budget was late 19 out of 20 years. Before Cuomo took office in January 2011, there hadn’t been a timely budget since 2006.”
The budget, totaling $135.1 billion, includes no new taxes or fees for the citizens of New York.
Among its top highlights are $1.23 billion in tax cuts for middle class families over three years, tax credits for businesses that hire returning veterans and youth, $50 billion allocated to the SUNY 2020 Program for higher education and an extension to the Medicare spending cap.
The budget also includes a change to the controversial gun-control bill.
As of the budget passing, the sale of 10-round magazines has been permitted; however, the magazines may only be sold with seven bullets in them.
Now that the budget has passed, Union administrators can decide on how much financial aid will be offered to the newly accepted class of 2017.
According to the Admission’s page on the college’s website, more than $32 million in scholarships are awarded each year. Of that, the average need-based scholarship is $29,000.
Furthermore, with tuition costs at $58,248 for the 2013-2014 school year, 60 percent of Union students receive some form of financial aid.
Exactly how much aid will be offered to the newly accepted students?
Director of Financial Aid Linda Parker said that there has been no change in either the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) or the state grant given to the college.
She said that while an overdue budget is not the end of the world for financial aid, an on-time budget provides students with a clearer estimate on their exact award.
“The challenge is trying to prepare aid awards, and when a budget is late we’re estimating; we would need to go back after the budget has passed and update the awards for each student,” Parker said.
If you don’t live in New York, however, the NYS budget does not apply to you or your award; the TAP provided in the NYS budget is only for residents of the state.
Parker also said that even if the budget provided less state aid to Union, the college would “work with budget aid, and meet the full need of each student. It may cost the college money, but we are dedicated to meeting the full need.”