SUNY gives in-state tuition to victims of Hurricane Maria

SUNY will offer in-state tuition rates to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands seeking to attend the university system.

The move comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the system to allow students from the two U.S. territories to attend at the rate usually only given to students from New York.

The usual method for students to receive in-state tuition is for them to spend a year in the state to establish a residency.

In-state tuition at a four-year SUNY school is $6,530, while out-of-state tuition is $16,320. The move allows students to save $9,790 per year.

The move will take effect for the 2017-2018 academic year.

The SUNY Board of Trustees voted on Oct. 6 to pass the measure, which Cuomo had requested less than a week earlier.

The call for reduced tuition for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands comes after Hurricane Maria, which devastated the two U.S. territories.

Weeks after the storm, Puerto Rico is still without electricity to most of its citizens, and it is expected that months will pass before full electrical coverage can be reinstated.

“In the wake of the devastation of hurricanes Maria and Irma, I applaud the SUNY Board for responding to my call and agreeing to offer in-state tuition to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by the storms,” Cuomo said in a press release.

Currently, about 215 students from either Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands are students in the SUNY system.

This was not the only outreach effort from New York state to the people affected by the devastation of the hurricane season this year. SUNY Maritime College, in the Bronx, sent a ship loaded with supplies to those affected by Hurricane Irma and is sending another ship to aid those affected by Hurricane Maria.