STEM Scholarship Expander (A.1808-A/S.2466-A)

Date: 2017

A. 1808-A Morelle/S.2466-A LaValle

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of Upstate New York, supports this legislation.

Since 2014, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) incentive program has offered New York State’s top graduating high school seniors full tuition scholarships if they attend one of New York’s public colleges or universities.

This legislation will expand the STEM Scholarship program by permitting the state’s top graduating seniors to apply their scholarship to not only public institutions, but also to private, not-for-profit colleges and universities operating in New York State.

Expanding this successful program to enable students who choose to attend private, not-for-profit universities in the state to participate aligns with New York State’s tradition of fostering choice in higher education and allowing the value of students’ state sponsored scholarship awards to follow them to the institution that best meets their academic and cultural pursuits.

New York State’s leaders have long recognized that providing affordable, accessible and diverse higher education opportunities is vital to the economic future of our state.

Further, the health and vitality of New York’s private higher education sector is essential to the State’s economic wellbeing, particularly Upstate, where the economy continues to lag behind that of Downstate. In many Upstate communities, private colleges and universities are major employers and economic engines of growth.
In Upstate New York, private colleges and universities have a combined economic impact exceeding $22 billion and directly support more than 160,000 jobs.

It is an economic imperative for New York State to advance smart, common sense policies that will allow the state’s students to achieve maximum potential, and to cultivate strong and growing independent colleges and universities. Expanding the STEM Scholarship program to include the state’s private colleges and universities as this legislation proscribes advances these objectives.

For these reasons, Unshackle Upstate supports the enactment of this legislation.