Top officials at New York's public college and university system have granted in-state tuition for refugee students who are from nations designated with temporary protected status by the United States.

Many of the 16 countries with that designation have struggled with wars or natural disasters, including Afghanistan, Haiti and Ukraine. 

The Board of Trustees at the State University of New York on Tuesday approved the in-state tuition designation for those countries, while also extending in-state tuition for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That assistance had been in place since 2017. 

“This is a critical investment in solidarity and opportunity that sends an unmistakable message – evacuees and refugees are welcome in the Empire State,” said SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales. “We are proud to deliver financial relief to impacted students and their families, and we are hopeful that we can do more to help students around the globe continue their pursuit of an excellent college education.”

Many of the students from the affected countries cannot return home, while some prospective students are seeking safety in a college campus. 

“This is a way for SUNY to provide a measure of stability for people whose lives have been uprooted by circumstances entirely beyond their control," said Interim SUNY Chancellor Deborah Stanley. "These students enrich the diversity of our campus communities, and we’re committed to helping them strengthen their futures.”