| The New
York State Assembly is committed to keeping a college education
affordable. But the Governors 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 Governors budgets
have cut support for higher education by about $1.6 billion:
1995: forced a record-breaking $750 tuition
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 Governors
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 Governors budget make it possible for working
parents and disadvantaged students to attend college, and help
schools attract high quality faculty.
to meet the current needs
Public colleges and universities are the backbone
of New Yorks higher education system, providing working
families a chance at the top-notch education theyll need
to succeed in todays 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 wont be able to maintain their
tradition of providing a quality, affordable college education.
New Yorks working families will pay the
price of the Governors shortsighted policies
in higher tuition costs, increased fees that are only backdoor
tuition hikes, crowded or cancelled classes, and fewer full-time
The Governors 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 Governors budget fails to make additional funds available
to part-time students, or students taking graduate courses in
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 Governors
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
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 Yorks community college tuition and fees
were over 56 percent higher than the national average.
Source: Almanac for Higher Education
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."
New York State
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."
National Center for Public Policy
and Higher Education
College at Geneseo President Christopher Dahl said his campus
has to charge students fees adding up to $900 a year because
state money doesnt 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