SUNY proposed budget calls for tiered tuition hikes, students awaiting voting results

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — SUNY students are on the edge of their seats Wednesday, waiting to hear the results of a vote on a proposed budget that includes more tuition hikes.

The proposed budget calls for tiered tuition hikes at 100, 200 and 300 dollars a year. Each campus would decide what they need. While that vote is currently underway, there was a lot of discussion about it up in Albany.

The financial fate of nearly 600,000 SUNY students was the center of a testimony in Albany early Wednesday. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher made a passionate plea to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education to keep SUNY fully inclusive after years of rising education costs.

“We aren’t happy because too many people are left behind,” Chancellor Zimpher said.

The Chancellor pointed out the sticker price of attending college has shot up by more than 35 percent in the last eight years. On Wednesday, she testified that money could be saved by focusing on on-time four year completions, and minimizing drop-out rates.

“For you to get out of college or leave college without a college degree, is as costly as tuition because you’re spending a lot of money,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “I have a colleague who says that’s a mortgage without a house, if you don’t get that degree you’ve invested money and you don’t have a return.”

She wasn’t alone. The President of the SUNY Student Assembly also expressed his disappointment in the possibility of tuition hikes.

“I think that this plan as it goes forward, would mean that campuses have the ability to raise tuition by $300 again and I think that based on what’s been done because of a lack of state funding, we may very well see that,” said President of SUNY Student Assembly Marc Cohen. “I think that we could though, have an alternative.”

He says campuses need to take a closer look at their own budgets.

“See where they can pull from rather than putting the burden back on the soldiers of students where it has been for five years now,” Cohen said.

Our own Assemblymember Patricia Fahy listened to the testimony as well.

“I want to make sure we are making our proper state investment at the same time that there is a very delicate balance here not to overburden students so I would hope that we would continue our state investment to minimize the impact on students and keep it affordable and accessible,” Fahy said.

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