Cuomo’s Office Reveals New Student Debt Cancellation Plan

In this image taken from video from the Office of the N.Y. Governor, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (Office of the NY Governor via AP)

Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic Governor of New York, has officially revealed a new $125 million student debt cancellation plan intended to help City University of New York alumni.

Back on the 28th of July, Cuomo revealed the “CUNY COmeback Program,” which seeks to straight-up eliminate unpaid debt for roughly 50,000 students and graduates who underwent financial issues as part of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown-induced recession.

As part of an announcement, CUNY stated that “the initiative is one of the nation’s largest student debt forgiveness plans of its kind.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardships in the lives of so many New Yorkers, and our students were among those most impacted,” stated Cuomo in his recent release. “This landmark new program eliminates millions of dollars in unpaid debt, providing much-needed relief to tens of thousands of CUNY students as they work to get back on their feet after the pandemic and plan for their futures.”

The announcement states:

Eligible students who were enrolled at the University from March 13, 2020, the date the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, through the Spring 2021 semester and accrued tuition and fee balances during that time, will have those unpaid debts to the University wiped clean. This action covers the Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 semesters and the Spring 2021 semester, including students who have graduated. It is a one-time action to aid students who faced and overcame numerous difficulties during the public health and economic crises. In most cases, outstanding student balances will be cleared without an application process, allowing students to register for Fall semester classes and obtain their official transcripts.

The plan seems to be funded via federal funds that have been allocated to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as part of Uncle Joe’s American Rescue Plan, which was passed back in March, and from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was passed back in December.

The Board of Trustees from CUNY officially approved of the plan back on July 6th, but it was not officially unveiled by Cuomo or the university system until just scant days before the release of the independent report.

On the other side of the country, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), who is currently looking down the barrel of a recall election, similarly announced the “largest state tax rebate in American history” back in May. under this new plan, households in California would see $500 cash payments.

“California’s recovery is well underway, but we can’t be satisfied with simply going back to the way things were,” stated Newsom. “We are tripling the Golden State Stimulus to get money in the hands of more middle-class Californians who have been hit hard by this pandemic.”


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