Cuomo gives hope to students displaced by recent hurricanes

There is no reason not to offer in-state tuition rates to those displaced by the recent hurricanes. Similar measures were used in 2005 when people were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, according to “Higher Education Today.” It would be wrong not to offer the same aid to those devastated by these recent hurricanes as was offered to those displaced in the past.

Tens of thousands of people have recently been displaced by hurricanes Maria and Irma. This is devastating for everyone affected. University students have not only lost access to their campuses, but many feel that the time and money spent toward their incomplete education has been for nothing. It would not be a stretch for those affected by the hurricanes to say their lives have been ruined.

Gov. Cuomo has recently suggested that he would like for SUNY schools to offer in-state tuition rates to those students displaced by the hurricanes. Students who live in New York state pay less for tuition than those who live out of state.

It is of vital importance that people have the opportunity to receive an education. Not only New York, but the nation as a whole espouses the idea that all people deserve the opportunity to better themselves in life, even if policies do not always reflect that idea. Furthermore, it is necessary, in order for society to continue to function, that all generations receive an education. All human beings deserve a fundamental right to an education.

This is not to say this measure will fix everything. Things will still be difficult for displaced people. Universities are very expensive to maintain, and college tuition is costly. Most undergraduate and graduate students agree. Many in-state students will already struggle to afford tuition. For those displaced by the hurricanes, in-state tuition will help relieve a burden, but there will still be a significant struggle to afford education, having lost their homes, jobs and everything they have. Education is only one of many issues displaced students are currently facing.

Not all people displaced by the hurricanes should have to go to New York. Other states could also offer in-state tuition rates to displaced people currently living there. While there are budgetary concerns, more economic assistance could be offered to students, both those displaced and those already attending SUNY schools.

New York state spends millions of dollars on advertising. Many argue that this money is wasted. Advertising funds could be reallocated, and education is just one of several areas that could benefit from those funds. While offering in-state tuition rates is undoubtedly a good first step, perhaps further measures are necessary to help all those affected by natural disasters.

Photo: Diana Robinson via flickr