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First SUNY; Then a Budget

August 03, 2010

Albany Times Union Editorial

It's showdown time in a state Legislature that's oblivious to both the urgency of deadlines and public impatience, or worse, with its inability to meet them. Passage of the budget that was due four months ago has become a casualty of a failure to reach final agreement over tuition rates at the state's public universities and colleges.

State University administrators and their allies, most notably Governor Paterson and Sen. William Stachowski, D-Buffalo, want more autonomy for individual schools -- particularly when it comes to setting their own tuition rates. They argue that such independence will lead to greater academic excellence, which in turn will help revive a state where the population is stagnant and the economy is languid.

Others, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, are concerned that the push to create some more elite SUNY campuses will come at the great expense of affordability. They're adamant that the cost of a SUNY or a City University of New York education not grow beyond the means of the poor, the working class and even the middle class.

Which side is right? Both, actually.

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