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Tuition increases, funding stays the same for SUNYs


The cost of a state college education will increase again this year, but no more than should be expected.

State funding for the SUNY system would stay the same under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget proposals, meaning a higher percentage of most campuses’ operating expenses would have to be covered by students’ tuition and fees.

Mr. Cuomo, who announced his Executive Budget on Tuesday, also made good a 2011 agreement with SUNY to allow incremental tuition increases, calling for a raise of $300 at SUNY campuses.

Dubbed ‘rational tuition,’ the plan called for tuition increase of $300 each year for five years, and for the state contribution to SUNY’s operating budget to be maintained. The agreement was forged after a series of state funding cuts and large tuition increases.

Tuition for most SUNY campuses would increase from $5,570 for the 2012-13 school year to $5,870 this fall. The 2013-14 school year will be the third year of the plan.

“We thank the Governor for honoring the maintenance of effort agreement that goes hand-in-glove with our rational tuition plan,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This stability allows our students and their families, as well as our campuses, to plan ahead.”

Most funding for SUNY campuses comes from tuition receipts and their state budget allotment. Hand-in-hand with the tuition rise, the proposal would authorize an additional $106 million of spending for SUNY.

Carli S. Schiffner, SUNY Canton president, lauded the budget proposal Wednesday.

“I am extremely pleased to see that Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget has fulfilled his promise to honor SUNY’s five-year rational tuition plan and is maintaining his pledge to keep SUNY whole by holding state support steady,” she said. “The Governor’s Executive Budget includes the ‘maintenance of effort’ provision, which pledged to keep state support for SUNY state-operated campuses at 2012-13 levels. The budget also will allow campuses to keep the increased tuition they collect next year.”

Ms. Schiffner said SUNY Canton should remain fiscally healthy.

“SUNY Canton’s record growth over recent years means that we remain fiscally strong and stable,” she said. “I am very thankful to the dedicated faculty and staff of SUNY Canton for supporting this growth on campus.”

When it was passed, Mr. Cuomo pitched the plan as a compromise between campuses that needed tuition increases to help cover rising operating expenses, and New York families trying to save for college.

At SUNY Potsdam, officials are waiting to see how its budget allotment would look in the first year of a new resource allocation model for the SUNY system.

After legislators pass a budget, SUNY’s portion is divided among campuses using the model. In December, SUNY estimated the model would reduce SUNY Potsdam’s allotment by $2.89 million, or 21.6 percent, while increasing SUNY Canton’s allotment by $282,800 or 4.5 percent.

SUNY Potsdam spokeswoman Alexandra M. Jacobs said the campus’s leadership was unsure how the college would fare, or how much it would rely on tuition receipts to cover expenses.

“Remember also that SUNY has promised transitional aid to campuses whose budget allotment has been reduced,” she said. “Until we have more information, there is no way to be certain.”

The Executive Budget recommends state operating support for the SUNY system remain at the 2012-13 level, $969 million.

Mr. Cuomo also proposed a $55 million third round of the competitive NYSUNY 2020 grant program, following a $140 million first round and a $60 million second round.

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