ITHACA, N.Y. –– On Monday, a group of Cornell students joined forces with students at several other New York universities to ask the state government for funding to counteract the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 on students.

Students at Colgate University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Niagara University, St. John Fisher College, St. John’s University, Syracuse University, Tompkins Cortland Community College, University of Rochester, the State University of New York (SUNY) system and City University of New York (CUNY) signed on to a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Senate, and the New York State Assembly, “calling upon our state government to support the needs of students.”

The letter asks for four things –– a public hearing on the needs of students, a rent relief fund for students, emergency support for eligible DACA student recipients and continued funding for TAP, EOP, and Excelsior scholarships.

In April, Cornell received $12.8 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act –– half of which was required to go to student aid. That money was only allotted for the spring semester and will not help students facing financial hardship going into the fall. The CARES money also excluded DACA recipient students which is why the group is calling for that additional consideration.

“One of the main issues is the lack of student support when students go from the school year to the summer. Traditional jobs, internships and income opportunities are not happening and are slow to open up. At the same time costs like rent, food, loans and technology are still accruing. Throughout the rest of this Summer and going into the Fall with so much uncertainty it is necessary that students receive assistance,” said Cornell Student Assemblymember Ethan Rubin.

Student representatives from the involved institutions say they’ve met with Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s office, and have begun conversing with Dan Fuller, Deputy Secretary for Education and a member of Governor Cuomo’s Interagency Task Force on Coronavirus.

“An investment in students now will lead to ​greater economic success​ for New York State in the future,” the students’ letter states.

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at