February 2006 Higher Education
From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Ron Canestrari, Chair, Higher Education Committee

Governor’s budget fails to invest in higher education

“It includes an egregious combination of tuition hikes and TAP cuts that will harm the poorest and most vulnerable students.” – Miriam Kramer, higher education coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group
The Assembly is committed to strengthening New York’s higher education system. Again this year the Assembly Majority will stand up to the governor’s budget proposal that once again fails to ensure that our students will have the door of opportunity open to them. Not only must we make sure that college is affordable for all New Yorkers, but we must also work to guarantee that New York remains on the cutting edge of scientific and technological advances.

State Support Declines for SUNY and CUNY Four-Year Colleges 1994-1995 State Support Declines for SUNY and CUNY Four-Year Colleges 2006-2007

The cost of education continues to rise while state funding does not

“SUNY’s budget request would have allowed the university to grow from a good higher education system to a great one, in part by increasing the number of full-time faculty so SUNY could enroll more eligible students and not turn them away. At best, the governor’s budget leaves SUNY in neutral. At worst, it sends a message that improving the SUNY system is a low priority.”
– William E. Scheuerman, president of United University Professions
The governor again proposes creating more obstacles to an affordable college education. He has proposed cutting tuition assistance (TAP) for some of our most vulnerable students, and he wants a $500 SUNY tuition hike and a $300 CUNY hike compounded with automatic increases each and every year. The tuition for a student attending SUNY would likely increase more than $1,000 over the next four years. A CUNY student would see tuition go up more than $750.

The governor’s modest increase in funding for community college doesn’t come close to the state’s obligation under New York law. In fact, the state should be providing community colleges with at least $50 million more in aid. The governor only proposed $18.7 million – a shortfall of more than $31 million.

The governor continues his legacy of shortchanging New York students

“Over the last 14 years, CPI is up 43 percent and the Higher Education Price Index is up 62 percent. Yet state aid for SUNY is up less than four percent and CUNY, not even one percent. In a word: shameful.”
- H. Carl McCall, Public Higher Education
During his tenure the governor has increased tuition by 65 percent, allowed state support for community college funding to drop to the lowest it’s been in 30 years, and attempted to cut TAP nine separate times. Since the governor has been in office, he’s proposed cutting state aid to higher education by more than $3 billion. He would rather give tax cuts to the wealthiest New Yorkers than help keep a college degree affordable for students and working families.

The Assembly will continue fighting the governor’s assault on higher education

“How are the State University and City University systems going to continue to prepare their students to successfully compete with students from around the world if they are starved for funding year after year? The budget the governor proposes for higher education is grossly inadequate and would only drag SUNY and CUNY backwards.”
– Richard C. Iannuzzi, New York State United Teachers, President
The Assembly is committed to providing access to a quality college education and making certain that New York remains on the forefront of technological and scientific advances. In the coming weeks, we will work in a bipartisan fashion to negotiate a fair, on-time budget that provides our students with the educational opportunities they deserve.

“The proposal is definitely going to hurt community colleges.”
– Sue Mead, director of financial aid at Dutchess Community College
“Accountability and integrity in the administration of TAP are important. However, any proposed reforms should not deny access to students, particularly those who must work while in school to meet their college expenses.”
– Abe Lackman, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities President

The Assembly Internet Information Service is available to those interested in receiving timely legislative updates by e-mail. To subscribe to this 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
[ Committee Page ] [ Assembly Home Page ]