Feb 5 – Students with disabilities from across the state have gathered at the Capitol to urge increased state funding for higher education disability services.
The State Education Department has included a $15 million proposal as part of its 2020-21 State budget request to supplement existing funding in support of students with disabilities in post-secondary education.
According to State Ed, over 150 students came to Albany to urge the state to fulfill the State Ed’s budget request to adequately fund education, services and programs for the estimated 75,000 higher education students with disabilities in the state.
The students were joined by some notable members of state legislature.
“Funding for higher education students with disabilities has remained stagnant since [fiscal year] 1993-1994 despite the fact that their enrollment has increased over 50%,” said State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, who serves as a member of the Assembly’s Task Force on People with Disabilities.
Epstein joined the students on the steps of the capitol, and thanked his colleagues for the bi-partisan support the movement has received.
“A good education is key to employment and among people with disabilities the employment rate has hovered approximately at a dismal 30%. At a time of purported ‘full’ employment, why are we leaving students with disabilities behind?” said Epstein.
The efforts of the students were recognized by over 80 lawmakers, who introduced a resolution memorializing February 5th, 2020 as Students with Disabilities Advocacy Day in New York.