The State University of New York will provide aid and support for Afghan refugees arriving in New York, including temporary housing and educational opportunities.
The effort announced Thursday by Gov. Kathy Hochul will include opening the public college and university system's 10 Educational Opportunity Centers across the state to refugees and waive a one-year residency requirement for admission.
Afghan evacuees will be able to apply for free courses, certificate and credentialing programs as well as mentorship for post-secondary education and job development skills. The SUNY system will work with a Rochester-based organization, Keeping Our Promise, to develop course work for the Afghan refugee population.
"We can meet the challenges of today and tomorrow with compassion, imagination, and grit, and there are vast resources across the State to give the Afghan evacuees a solid start here in the United States," Hochul said. "This is a call to action, to uphold our state's proud history of sheltering evacuees from persecution and violence. The arduous journey that thousands of Afghans have taken over the last few weeks is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new chapter that we can help them write."
Meanwhile, the SUNY campus at Buffalo State College is working with local agencies to reserve empty dormitory space for transitional housing for up to 100 people. SUNY officials say that, through a program, laptops will be allocated in order to aid educational programming.
"Public higher education empowers social mobility and social progress and it's part of our core mission to open our doors to individuals in need," said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras. "The entire SUNY community thanks Governor Hochul for her leadership in opening New York's door to Afghan evacuees. We will do our part by providing high quality educational opportunities so they can be part of the American dream. We are made stronger by their stories and their heritage, and we welcome them with safety and opportunity."