ALBANY — Finger Lakes Community College President Robert Nye is co-chairing a new council to help expand access to college education for military-connected students and lower those costs.

To correspond with Veterans Day, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced formation of the SUNY Veteran and Military Action Council. It will work with college leaders, elected officials and state agencies on a series of policy shifts to increase access and improve the educational experience for current and prospective military-connected students. Nye’s co-chair is University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez.

The council will make SUNY the most inclusive system for military-connected people in the nation. It will work to enact the following changes by fall 2021:

• Close a key gap in tuition assistance for all active military, Reserve and National Guard personnel, specifically reducing tuition to $250 per credit for military-connected students. Overall, the council’s goal is to save military-connected students $5,000 over the course of four years.

Studies show that closing tuition gaps for active service members, veterans, and their families has increased enrollment in college. For example, at SUNY Empire State College — where the campus expanded its fee waivers for the spouses of all veterans — enrollment rose more than 50% over the prior year.

• Releasing comprehensive implementation strategies to transfer military service to college credit at all SUNY schools.

• Establishing priority registration for military-connected students.

“Our military and veteran students have much to offer our institutions and communities,” Nye, who served for 30 years in the U.S. Army, said in a press release. “I am proud to be part of a team seeking more ways to make them feel welcome and to foster their academic and personal success.”

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