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SUNY Tuition Plan is Rational and Fair

May 31, 2011

Times Union Op-Ed by ESC President Alan Davis

A pending initiative in the state Legislature is critically important to the State University of New York's future and must be passed before this session closes.

Senate Bill 4709, and its companion in the Assembly, A.6915, would establish a five-year rational tuition plan for SUNY. It also would require the state to maintain its current funding levels and ensure any future tuition increases are reinvested to benefit the student.

SUNY students themselves, who face limited opportunity in the form of closed programs, fewer courses and diminished services, have endorsed such a plan.

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SUNY board directs chancellor to find funding help for students

May 11, 2011

Fox News Albany

The Board of Trustees of the State University of New York says it unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday that directs Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher to coordinate with all 29 of SUNY’s four-year colleges and universities in working to find new or expanded financial aid options to help protect students who could be adversely impacted by a possible tuition hike.

The board says in anticipation of a rational tuition bill being adopted by the Legislature, each state-operated campus will develop a plan that reflects resources that are currently available, as well as additional financial aid initiatives. Campus presidents will deliver these plans to the chancellor by the end of June.

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Cuomo Backs Higher Tuition at Top SUNY Campuses

May 03, 2011

New York Times

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday that he would support allowing the flagship campuses of the State University of New York to charge higher tuition than the rest of the system, a stance that could pit him against fellow Democrats who worry that lower-income students could be priced out of the top schools.

The governor said he would support a State University proposal to set a five-year schedule of tuition increases at all SUNY undergraduate campuses, and would allow the four research campuses — at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook — to propose their own, higher undergraduate tuition increases, subject to legislative approval.

“There is no cookie cutter,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference. “Some may decide that they need to increase tuition; some may decide they don’t. We’re trying to flip the model.” Under the new model, he said, “we’re not going to tell you what to do.”

Currently, all of SUNY’s undergraduate campuses charge the same tuition for state residents, $4,970, which is significantly lower than that charged by many other state universities.

The governor’s announcement came as he unveiled one of his administration’s first major economic development programs, $140 million in grants for the SUNY research campuses for expansion, part of which, he said, would probably be paid for by the higher tuitions.

By throwing his weight behind the tuition proposals, Mr. Cuomo is thrusting himself into one of Albany’s longest-running and most contentious policy disputes. For years, SUNY’s research universities have sought to set their own tuitions and to vary tuition by campus. Currently, the systemwide tuition rate is set by the Legislature. Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor, Gov. David A. Paterson, supported a “differential tuition” plan last year, but it failed to win legislative approval.

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