New SUNY Council to expand access, lower cost to college education for all military-connected students


ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — On Veterans Day, the State University of New York announced a new council to help expand opportunities to a college education for military-connected students.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras has officially announced the formation of the SUNY Veteran and Military Action Council that will work to increase access and improve educational experiences for current and prospective military-connected students.

“These heroes who have put their lives on the line for this country deserve all the assistance we can provide to make it possible to pursue a higher education and transition to their next career,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Our new Veteran and Military Action Council include professionals who understand the unique needs of student active service members and veterans, some of them being veterans themselves serving our country.”

The Council is co-chaired by University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez and Finger Lakes Community College President Robert Nye.

According to SUNY, the Veteran and Military Action Council will work to implement changes to increase inclusivity. These include:

  • Program to close a gap in tuition assistance for Active Military, Reserve, National Guard
  • Releasing implementation strategies to transfer military service t college credit at all SUNY schools
  • Establishing priority registration for military-connected students

Full implementation of all these programs is expected by the fall 2021 semester.

Additional committee members for the SUNY Veteran and Military Council include

  • Co-Chair Havidán Rodríguez, President, University at Albany
  • Co-Chair Robert Nye, President, Finger Lakes Community College
  • Executive Director Aaron Gladd, Chief of Staff, SUNY System Administration
  • Crystal Rodriguez-Dabney, Chief of Staff, Buffalo State College
  • Desiree Drindak, Director for the Office of Veteran and Military Education, SUNY Empire State College
  • Eric Farina, Director Veteran Affairs, Farmingdale State College
  • Patrick Massaro, Director of the CREST Center and Veteran Coordinator, SUNY Canton
  • Shannon O’Neil, College Director of Veterans Affairs, Suffolk Community College
  • Diana Pasterchick, Coordinator of Veterans and Military Affairs, SUNY System Administration
  • Benjamin Pomerance, Deputy Director of Program Development, New York State Division of Veteran Services
  • Dan Ryan, Director, Veteran Services, University of Buffalo
  • Eric Wheeler, Asst. Director, Veterans Services, Monroe Community College


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