March 2005

Higher Education

From the NYS Assembly · Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Ronald Canestrari · Chair, Higher Education Committee
What the experts are saying about the governorís budget...

"The lack of investment in public higher education in this state will discourage business from investing here, and will threaten the economic future of our great state. A restoration of the proposed cuts to higher education and an increase in state support to SUNY, CUNY and the community colleges is needed to maintain the fiscal stability of these institutions."

- Alan B. Lubin, Executive Vice President, New York State United Teachers

"With SUNY playing such an important role in New York’s economic development, the state’s highest priority for capital funds must be to ensure that the SUNY campuses have the resources necessary to carry out their historic mission of providing high-quality, accessible, affordable higher education."

- William Scheuerman, President, United University Professions

"This would affect our students very negatively. They need the money while they’re in college. Our hope is that the budget cut will be corrected by the Legislature."

- Ken Kelly, Vice President of Student Affairs, Utica College

"This is an uglier regurgitation of the governor’s previous plans. The Senate and Assembly must work together to reject the governor’s higher education proposal and make college affordable for New Yorkers."

- Joel Kelsey, Chairperson, New York Public Interest Research Group

And the Assembly’s budget...

"We applaud the Assembly’s rejection of the governor’s scheme to raise the cost of going to college. This resolution is an excellent first step and we urge the Senate and governor to follow suit and negotiate a final budget that holds the line on tuition and financial aid and invests in the state’s colleges and universities."

- Miriam Kramer, Higher Education Coordinator, NYPIRG

Assembly budget invests in higher education, restores governor’s cuts

The Assembly’s budget resolution rejects the obstacles Governor Pataki’s budget places in the way of an affordable college education and a chance for a brighter future for New York students (Resolution C322). The resolution specifically outlines a strong investment in New York’s higher education system and the students it prepares for tomorrow’s jobs. It protects access to a college degree by once again rejecting the governor’s major cuts to financial aid and excessive tuition increases.

Keeping college affordable

The Assembly’s resolution would invest over $336 million more than the governor in higher education - including additional funding to reject the governor’s tuition hikes at SUNY and CUNY. It also provides an additional $163.7 million for TAP - rejecting the governor’s attempt to cut the successful program by 50 percent.

In addition, the Assembly rejects the governor’s attempt to cut opportunity programs that have made it possible for thousands of deserving students to pursue their dreams. To help community colleges ward off tuition increases or local property tax hikes the resolution increases state support by $115 per full-time equivalent student from $2,235 to $2,350. This increase will mean $18.7 million for SUNY community colleges and $7.5 million for CUNY community colleges. This restores funding for community colleges to the level authorized by the Legislature last year before being vetoed by the governor. Go to to find funding levels for specific community colleges.

Modernizing campuses

The Assembly budget plan also:

  • provides $762.6 million for capital projects at SUNY and CUNY and provides for another full year’s worth of capital projects to be funded within the SUNY and CUNY multi-year capital plans

  • doubles the state’s investment in capital improvements for SUNY, CUNY and independent colleges - restoring $314 million to SUNY and $250.5 million to CUNY that was vetoed by the governor last year

  • provides $300 million for the creation of a new Higher Educational Capital Facilities Matching Grant Program to help SUNY, CUNY and independent colleges leverage additional aid for campus improvements - over $50 million more than the governor’s proposal

The governor’s call for a tuition increase at SUNY and CUNY - combined with a 50 percent cut to TAP and chopping in half the opportunity programs that have enabled those of modest means to afford a college education - would make it even harder for working families to afford a college education.

Fighting the governor’s assault on higher education

Tuition at SUNY would have increased by 11 percent under the governor’s plan, and 6 percent at CUNY. And the governor called for continuing last year’s $65 per student cut to local community college base aid - a cut the Assembly fought to restore.

During the governor’s 10 years in office, he has proposed raising SUNY tuition more than 125 percent - an amount the Legislature has consistently scaled back in an attempt to keep the cost of a college degree affordable to all. In fact, during his tenure, the governor has targeted higher education with over $3 billion in cuts - with nearly one-third of a billion ($295 million) in proposed cuts this year alone. At the same time, the governor’s budget would give a tax break to the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers - those making over $500,000 a year.

In addition to creating opportunities for a brighter future for working families, higher education is one of New York’s fastest growing sectors and a powerful foundation of economic activity within the state. Higher education pumps more than $60 billion into our state’s economy - something that is increasingly important to many regions of the state.

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