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BCW & College Leaders Seek Level Playing Field on Free Tuition Plan


The Business Council of Westchester this week gathered the Presidents of private college’s in Westchester to discuss ways to ensure that their schools will have a level playing field under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s free tuition proposal for public schools.

The $163 million proposal unveiled last month during Cuomo’s State of the State address would make college tuition free for middle-class families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year at all SUNY and CUNY two- and four-year colleges.

BCW’s Executive Vice President and COO John Ravitz said that the Business Council would be including this issue as part of its 2017 Legislative Agenda for discussion with Albany lawmakers.

“The Business Council believes that creating a plan which will make colleges affordable for all New York students is important but must be done in a responsible way,’’ he said. “The Governor’s proposed $163 million free tuition program raises many questions that must be answered. The Business Council is concerned that the proposal does not create a level playing field, and will end up hurting the small private colleges in Westchester County and the rest of the state and could cause a decrease in student enrollment for those important institutions.”

Ravitz added that the BCW would continue to reach out to members of Westchester’s State legislative delegation to make sure that they understand the numerous valid issues that Westchester’s private colleges are raising regarding this matter.

Attending Wednesday’s meeting were: Berkeley College President Michael Smith; Pace University President Stephen Friedman; Manhattanville College President Michael Geisler; Mercy College President Timothy Hall; Fordham University Associate Vice President for Government Relations Lesley Arthur; St. Thomas Aquinas College Senior Vice President Vin Crapanzano; Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) President Mary Beth Labate; Director of College and Athletic Communications for Iona College Brian Beyrer; Monroe College Director of Undergraduate Admissions Michael Nickzwicoki.

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