SUNY trustees raise tuition on in-state students … again

State University of New York students are going to be paying more.

At least those who don’t qualify for the Governor’s new Excelsior Scholarship.

The SUNY board of trustees voted on Wednesday to raise tuition 3.1 percent. It brings tuition up to $6,670 for in-state students attending any four-year colleges.

Opponents of the increase, which breaks down to $200 called the move “unconscionable.”

Tuition has increased by more than 50 percent in the last two decades. The cost increase has many asking where it will stop.

Student Assembly President and Trustee Marc Cohen told the Times Union that changes are necessary across the board, before any tuition increases are considered. He added, “Before we levy yet another increase, let’s conduct a full and honest systemwide efficiency audit and implement the most innovative practices the great minds of our system can devise to share services, cut down on administrative costs, and costs associated with facility usage.”

Trustees said the cost hike was necessary to maintain “programs” and to compensate for lost revenue as result of the state’s new free tuition program.

The cost-increase will impact students who come from higher-income families, and those who only study part-time. Many have pointed out that the part-time student group is that of biggest concern. These students are oftentimes those who are first-generation students, students with limited income, as well as those who are older — balancing things like families and jobs.

The SUNY board of trustees has voted to jump tuition by $300 per year five out of the last six years. That has been the maximum threshold for raising tuition at SUNY schools.

As for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship — the SUNY trustees say that 20 percent of students eligible have applied at this point. The deadline for application to receive it this year is now less than a month away.

What if the loss isn’t as significant for the SUNY system?

When Gov. Cuomo debuted his ‘free’ tuition proposal, many argued that it would cost the state and taxpayers more in the long-term. While that remains to be seen, it could actually mean a net increase in revenue for the state.

If the Excelsior Scholarship is under-utilized, and the ‘free tuition’ program gives SUNY officials the green light to increase tuition — then it could result in more income.

This is not the only question raised thus far about the process. Let us know what you think about the free tuition program, as well as another tuition increase for in-state students in the comment section below.