Joe Robach Supports Education Initiative: Legislation to Make College More Affordable

Joe Robach and the members of the New York State Senate, in support of college education, recent passed five bills to make college more affordable for students and their families, while setting students up for success. These bills provide opportunities to help New York students thrive by increasing awards in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to equal the cost per semester of SUNY and CUNY tuition, alleviating student loan debt, giving access to free community college to eligible students, and providing targeted work-training programs.

In support of this education initiative, Joe Robach said, “Given the high costs of college, every opportunity must be made by students and their families to meet their required expenses with scholarships, student loans, financial aid and personal contributions.IMG_9999_265

As a father of three, Joe Robach knows the expense that comes with obtaining a college degree, but also knows the value of that degree. He is proud to support this education legislation that will help college students throughout New York State pay their way through college so they aren’t burdened with excessive debt upon college graduation.
The college affordability bills approved by the Senate include the following legislation:

Increasing TAP Awards:

The Senate passed legislation (S7795) that builds upon the $34.2 million TAP increase the legislature included in the 2014-15 state budget. The measure increases the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $6,470 beginning in fall 2015. In addition, the bill increases the maximum income eligibility for TAP from $80,000 to $100,000 to include more middle class families and students.

Helping Students Pay Off Student Loan Debt:

The Senate approved legislation (S7791), that would help students pay off large student debts. The bill would enable eligible students to convert up to $35,000 in private student loan debt into a low-interest loan to be managed by the state. Students would be able to pay off the loan based on their annual income and ability to pay. The new program, called the New York Student Affordable Refinancing for Tomorrow (New START) Program, would make it easier for students to pay off student loan debt, which has surpassed credit card debt as the number one source of debt in the nation.

Free Community College:

The Senate passed a bill (S7793) to guarantee access to a free community college education for eligible students. This bill requires the state’s Higher Education Services Corporation to reimburse students for the cost of attending a community college if they meet eligibility requirements related to academic success and financial aid eligibility.

In addition, the Senate passed bills today that would:

> Create a pilot program that includes reduced-cost accelerated baccalaureate degrees at SUNY institutions. These degree programs would be completed within three years and is capped at a total tuition cost of $12,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year (S7792);

>Establish a grant-funded program geared at retraining and employing unemployed people. This legislation (S7794) awards a $500,000 grant to community colleges to develop or improve existing workforce development programs. It would provide proper training required for job placement in businesses and industries within an eligible college’s region that is lacking the necessary workforce, is seeking employees with new skills, or where job growth is anticipated in the near future.

The bills were sent to the Assembly.

Joe Robach Supports Education Initiative: College Financial Aid Education

With the school year coming to an end, Joe Robach would like to remind soon-to-be high school graduates about the importance of college financial aid and learning about their options. Joe Robach supports students getting a college education, and knows that in many cases a college degree is on attainable with the right financial aid assistance. Joe Robach urges college students, and soon-to-be college students, to educate themselves on the importance of financial aid and all the different financial aid opportunities available to them.

“A college education is so important in today’s society and business world. With a college degree, you can obtain a good paying job and set yourself up for a bright career and future,” said Joe Robach. “Unfortunately, the cost of college can often inhibit or deter students from pursuing a degree. There are a multitude of financial aid options available for students, all of which I encourage them to explore.”

Senator Joe Robach supports higher education, whether it’s through obtaining an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, or even an advanced certification in a specialized field of study. Joe Robach suggests that interested students and parents should log on to to find more information and to see complete financial aid packages that are available.

“As hard working families struggle to afford higher education, this financial aid can go a long way in allowing a student to further their education,” said Senator Robach. “For our high school graduates, every little bit will help them afford their dream of getting a degree.”

Tips from Joe Robach for Dealing with Bullying

As the internet and online social networks continue to grow, so does the phenomenon known as cyberbullying.  Cyberbullying describes when a child or teenager is harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened or tormented using digital technology.  Joe Robach knows that this type of bullying can have an extreme negative impact on a child’s education and overall well being.  Emotionally, cyberbullying can be very scarring, since it involves threats and humiliation.

There are some alarming statistics about cyber bullying, such as that 58% of kids report that someone has been hurtful or mean to them online as well as 21 percent of kids report that they’ve received threatening messages.   Most alarming is that some recent studies have shown a strong correlation between bullying and suicide.  Joe Robach believes that you can stop cyberbullying with proactive education.  If you believe that your child may be a victim of cyber bullying, give them these useful tips:

  • Tell someone about it.  Find a trusted adult – either a parent or a teacher- and report the incident.
  • Do not delete the bully’s messages.  Save them somewhere on your computer or cell phone where they are easily accessible, should they need evidence of wrongdoing.
  • Do not open messages from others that have sent you previous bullying messages.  If you receive a message from someone you know that is cyberbullying, ignore it.
  • Block cyberbullies who attack you during chats and other social media.
    Never agree to see someone you met online in person, without talking to or bringing a trusted adult.

“By providing individuals, especially students, with education on bullying we can all work together towards the goal of preventing it from happening inside and outside of schools,” said Joe Robach in support of educating the public on anti-bullying efforts.

For more information about cyberbullying or other things that can impact a child’s education, contact Joe Robach’s office.


Robach Supports Education by Securing Funds for Ipad Labs for K-2 Schools

Senator Joe Robach and the Greece Central School District have partnered to put technology into the hands of Greece elementary school students, supporting technology in the classroom and enhancing their education experience. In an effort to increase students’ access to and understanding of technology, the district recently purchased 30 iPads for each school serving grades K-2.

Senator Joe Robach recently joined Greece Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams in IMG_9080unveiling the new devices in the Autumn Lane Elementary School Library. Second grade students will be using iPads with school librarian Katherine Boggs. They will be reading an eBook about the presidency.

In addition to Autumn Lane, iPad stations were recently added to English Village Elementary School and Holmes Road Elementary School. In 2012, the district’s eight other elementary schools purchased iPad labs thanks to in part to $50,000 secured by Sen. Robach. The devices are housed in school libraries and used to enrich lessons that are planned collaboratively between classroom teachers and librarians.

“As part of an ongoing initiative, students at Autumn Lane Elementary School in the Town of Greece will now have access to 30 iPads in the school’s library. This new technology will help them prepare for testing and to meet district technology standards. I’m pleased to help secure funding for this project that will benefit all K-5 students in the Greece Central School District by providing them access to new technology,” said Joe Robach in support of technology advancements in the classroom.

Deane-Williams said the addition of this new technology goes a long way in helping students meet the Greece Central School District technology standards. Additionally, New York State will soon require students to take assessments electronically.

“Schools and students need to begin preparing now for the demands of the future,” she said.

Joe Robach Supports Governor Cuomo’s College Education Cost Tool

Students Can Compare Differences, Calculate Net Costs and Estimate Total Cost of College Education Online

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new tool that will help students and families interpret financial aid award letters from colleges and get bottom line costs before making a final decision. The Financial Aid Award Letter Comparison Tool, available at, is free and safe to use, with no personal data collected or saved.

“I applaud Governor Cuomo for New York college students with another tool they can utilize to make the best financial decision possible when it comes to educational future and college financial aid,” said Senator Joe Robach in support of this new educational online 999581_626976497345108_1853113445_ntool. “In addition to this new website, I’m pleased to announce that I will be hosting two financial aid forums to help those seeking information about what kind of financial aid is available and how to apply for it.”

For many families it can be difficult to choose the best college at an affordable price, especially without a full understanding of the total costs—including which types of aid must be paid back. The tool generates side-by-side comparisons, highlights net costs, and estimates the full two or four-year cost of each college.

The report also recommends the potential income required after graduation, based on an occupation chosen by the user, to be able to pay back student loans. This feature not only helps students and their families understand the impact of borrowing as it relates to current and future circumstances, but encourages students to carefully consider their field of study and make adjustments in career or college choices if necessary. To make these projections, the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) uses current data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook to provide median salary estimates for selected occupations.

Senator Joe Robach Supports Education with Collegiate Scholarship

New York State Senator Joe Robach announced today that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is now accepting applications for four $2,000 scholarships, which will be awarded on June 9th at their Annual Legislative Conference Day. This scholarship is another example of Joe Robach’s support for higher education.

“Given the high costs of college, every opportunity must be made by students and their families to meet their required expenses with scholarships, student loans, financial aid and personal contributions,” said Robach.  “Our conference is very proud of our role in promoting higher education and assisting students in reaching their academic goals and full potential for future success.”

This year, the Italian-American State Legislators Conference will be awarding four $2,000 IMG_9295scholarships to four current or future college students from New York State.  Eligibility will be based upon the student’s grade point average, interest in pursuing a higher education, involvement in the local community as well as individual financial need.

The Conference is a bipartisan organization of New York State Assembly and Senate members who are actively involved in promoting and celebrating the state’s Italian-American community. The Conference mission is to work hard to elevate and highlight Italian-American contributions to the State of New York and beyond, in all aspects of society, including literature, the arts, architecture and politics. The conference also tries to dispel negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans.

Students may request an application by contacting Senator Robach’s office at (585) 225-3650 or

Senator Joe Robach Supports Education with Financial Aid Forum

New York State Senator Joseph Robach is pleased to announce that he is hosting two Student Financial Aid forums for families, a program that he feels will assist parents in learning about financial aid possibilities and higher education for their children.

Planning for your child’s college future can be confusing and difficult. That’s why I’m pleased to announce that I will be hosting two Financial Aid Forums to help those seeking information about what kind of financial aid is available and how you can apply for it,” said IMG_8642Joe Robach.

The College Financial Aid forums will be held on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town of Greece Community & Senior Center, located at 3 Vince Tofany Boulevard, and Monday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Brighton Memorial Library, 2300 Elmwood Avenue.

Representatives will have information available such as College Cost, Financial Aid programs such as TAP and HEOP, Financial Planning, College Savings Programs, and how to fill out FAFSA forms.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call Senator Robach’s office at (585) 225-3650.

Senator Joe Robach Supports Higher Education Competition

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that applications are now available for the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition. Deadlines are fast approaching for student teams from across the state to apply for the chance to win more than $500,000 in total prizes as part of the upcoming regional competitions and the statewide final round which will be held at CNSE on April 25. The competition is being sponsored by SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), in collaboration with Title Sponsors SEFCU and the State University of New York (SUNY).

“My colleagues in state government have worked hard to make SUNY campuses the leading drivers of economic growth in communities across the state. This program will encourage New York State college students to apply themselves to the best of their abilities, while giving them hands-on experience in their field of study,” said Senator Joe Robach in support of this higher education program.

Presented by CNSE in partnership with the University at Albany School of Business andIMG_6687 Syracuse University, more than $500,000 in prizes is available to the top student-led startups from accredited colleges and universities throughout New York State. Each team will pitch a business idea to a panel of judges that includes national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

More than 60 colleges and universities are expected to participate from across New York. Interested students are encouraged to submit their business plans for innovations related to areas that include nanotechnology/advanced technology, energy/sustainability, biotechnology/healthcare, information technology/software, products/services, and social entrepreneurship/non-profit.

Joe Robach has always supported and advocated for a variety of higher education programs like the New York Business Plan Competition.

Joe Robach Supports State Educational Program, Empire State Fellows

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of the application process for the third class of the Empire State Fellows. The prestigious program attracts exceptional and diverse talent from New York and around the country to serve in high-level positions in the administration. Since its inception in 2012, the two-year Program has begun preparing a new generation of policy-makers to help lead New York State government.

I applaud Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature for continuing to support this beneficial education program, which gives future policymakers hands-on experience working in the New York State Capitol,” said Joe Robach in support of the IMG_9999_265Empire State Fellows education program.

To apply to be an Empire State Fellow, candidates must email a cover letter, resume, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation to by Friday, April 4, 2014. For more information on the Empire State Fellows Program and the application process, go to

Candidates selected as Empire Fellows will be appointed to positions in the Executive Branch that match their skills and experience, and will work closely with senior administration officials to create transformative policy solutions to the complex challenges confronting our state. Empire Fellows will also engage in educational and professional development programming that prepares them to serve as effective and ethical government leaders.

The Empire State Fellows Program is part of Governor’s New New York Leaders Initiative that recruits talented young professionals and college students to serve in State government. Joe Robach believes that supporting students in their higher education goals is very important.

Joe Robach Joins Senate Colleagues Issuing a Statement on Pre-K

Rochester-area State Senator Joe Robach recently joined colleagues in the New York State Senate in stating his opposition to New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio’s plan to fund pre-K in New York City, making it a priority over pre-K for students in other New York Towns. Senator Robach joined Senate Education Chair John Flanagan and Finance Chair John DeFrancisco in saying:

As members of the New York State Senate, we are deeply offended by Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s recent assertion that the children in New York City are more deserving and more in need of early childhood education than the 4 and 5-year-olds in the communities we represent.

We know Mayor DeBlasio has a lot on his plate, but he may be interested in learning a few facts about the rest of the state.  All four of the big city school districts, including Rochester Syracuse and Buffalo, are poorer than New York City, and 70 percent (471) of the school districts across the state – - serving more than 1.2 million students – - are less wealthy than the one he represents.

In addition, 20 percent of the school districts in New York State have a greater percentageIMG_8650 of students with higher needs than New York City, and many of those districts are worse off than the worst parts of New York City.  Meanwhile, the City of Rochester has the fifth highest poverty rate among all U.S. cities.  In fact, during legislative budget hearings we heard testimony from many Upstate mayors about the difficulties their cities are facing.

We have a responsibility to provide every student in this state with the same opportunity to learn and to succeed, not just the students in New York City.”

In addition to supporting pre-K education for all New York students, Joe Robach continues to fight for improving education in schools in the Rochester region. For more information on Joe Robach’s efforts to improve and support education, visit