A recent News editorial describes the governor’s proposal to allow more autonomy for State University of New York campuses as a bold step. United University Professions agrees it’s a boldstep— a bold step backward!
Allowing each SUNY campus to set its own tuition rate would potentially deny access to thousands of qualified students who are looking for an affordable, quality public higher education. The proposal would allow tuition to increase up to 2.5 times the five-year rolling average of the Higher Education Price Index. Since that average is about 3.9 percent, tuition could rise by a whopping 10 percent in the coming year.
Additionally, granting campuses this tuition-setting power would give the state the opportunity to slash the amount of state support it provides to the university, so students and their families would bear the lion’s share of the operating costs.
The idea of giving campuses the power to lease their property fails to take into account the property belongs to state taxpayers and is legally owned by SUNY, not the individual campus. The taxpayers are better served by current legislative oversight protections, especially when these potential leases could compromise the academic needs of an individual campus.
Our top priority is to preserve the mission of SUNY to provide New Yorkers with an accessible and affordable higher education. We think state lawmakers will find the governor’s proposal is at odds with that mission.
Phillip H. Smith
President United University Professions