February 8, 2001
Focus on

      Higher Education

From the NYS Assembly Sheldon Silver, Speaker Edward C. Sullivan, Chair, Higher Education Committee

For the 7th straight year, the Governor’s
budget undermines the quality and
affordability of a college education


The New York State Assembly is committed to keeping a college education affordable. But the Governor’s budget proposal continues policies that undermine the value of a higher education and threaten to shut the college door for many New Yorkers.

For the past six years, the Governor’s budgets have cut support for higher education by about $1.6 billion:

1995: forced a record-breaking $750 tuition hike;

1996: attempted to raise SUNY tuition another $700, but the Assembly stopped him in his tracks;

1997: called for a tuition increase as high as $800 or more, but again, the Assembly said no;

1998: slashed $100 million provided by the Assembly for community colleges, faculty and a textbook tax credit;

1999: proposed cutting $114 million from the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) as well as funding for our public colleges and universities;

2000: proposed cutting $29.4 million in funding for higher education programs.

This year will be no exception. The Governor’s proposed budget cuts $8.4 million from programs at SUNY and community colleges, and $2.8 million from CUNY. Many of the programs jeopardized under the Governor’s budget make it possible for working parents and disadvantaged students to attend college, and help schools attract high quality faculty.

The Governor’s plan fails
to meet the current needs
of students.

Public colleges and universities are the backbone of New York’s higher education system, providing working families a chance at the top-notch education they’ll need to succeed in today’s economy. Community colleges alone offer educational opportunities for tens of thousands of New Yorkers and provide businesses with the highly-skilled work force they need to prosper.

Unless state aid to these institutions keeps pace with rising costs, they won’t be able to maintain their tradition of providing a quality, affordable college education.

New York’s working families will pay the price of the Governor’s shortsighted policies –– in higher tuition costs, increased fees that are only backdoor tuition hikes, crowded or cancelled classes, and fewer full-time teachers.

The Governor’s budget
makes college less affordable
for working families.

As college costs rise, the need for additional tuition assistance has never been more important. Unfortunately, the Governor’s budget fails to make additional funds available to part-time students, or students taking graduate courses in education.

The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) goes a long way towards helping working families afford college. TAP is one of the most significant investments that New York State provides to students seeking access to a higher education.

The Assembly has restored the Governor’s proposed TAP cuts over the years and won a significant expansion of the program last year.

New York trails the
rest of the nation in
support for higher

  Over the last five years, the cumulative increase in state appropriations for higher education has been four percent, which ranks New York State 38th in the nation.

   Since 1995, the average cost of tuition and fees at SUNY colleges has increased 31 percent –– from $2,971 to $3,905.

   As a result, the average cost of tuition and fees for a student attending a public four-year college in New York is roughly 17 percent higher than the national average.

   In 1999-2000, New York’s community college tuition and fees were over 56 percent higher than the national average.

Source: Almanac for Higher Education

"Today, New York is one of only six states spending less on public higher education than if their contributions had simply kept pace with inflation over the last 10 years."

  Alan B. Lubin
New York State
United Teachers

"New Yorkers live in one of the most expensive states for attending college...the average loan taken out by students in 1998-99 was $4,357, the third-highest level of borrowing for college in the country."

   William Doyle
National Center for Public Policy
and Higher Education

"State University College at Geneseo President Christopher Dahl said his campus has to charge students fees adding up to $900 a year because state money doesn’t cover important items ranging from technology to athletics. ‘State funding has not been sufficient to support essential activities,’ Dahl said."
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 2/1/01

"SUNY requires additional funding to make up for past years. The task at hand...is to ‘fill the holes’ in the executive proposal.. "

   William E. Scheuerman
United University Professions


The Governor claims he won’t raise tuition,
but his policies say just the opposite.

The fact is, the Governor’s program bill A.1997 would open the door to future tuition hikes without Legislative approval. Each time the Governor has tried to put such a plan in motion, the Assembly has rejected it flat out. Again this year, the Assembly will stop any attempt to raise tuition dead in its tracks.

The Assembly Majority will continue working to keep a college education within reach for all New Yorkers.

The Assembly Majority knows tomorrow’s leaders are in today’s classrooms. That’s why we have consistently fought to preserve and improve the quality and affordability of a college education for all New Yorkers.

Just last year, we forged a final budget agreement that created the College Tuition Tax Credit, allowing families to deduct up to $10,000 for college costs. We raised the income eligibility for TAP from $50,000 to $80,000, increased aid to community colleges, and helped make it easier for students with children to attend college.

As budget negotiations proceed, ensuring access to a quality, affordable higher education will remain one of the Assembly Majority’s top priorities.

NEW SERVICE AVAILABLE: The Assembly Internet Information Service is now available to those interested in receiving timely legislative updates by e-mail. To subscribe to this new service, please drop us a line at signup@assembly.state.ny.us, indicating your area of interest.

(The Assembly Internet Information Service will not release, sell or give away a subscriber's e-mail address, name or any other information provided without express permission from the subscriber. Each e-mail notice or newsletter will contain simple instructions for removing your name from the mailing list if you decide you no longer wish to subscribe.)

New York State Assembly
[ Welcome Page ] [ Committee Updates ]