Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R, C, I – 59th District) announced tonight that he and his Senate colleagues passed legislation instituting a rational tuition policy for the State University of New York (SUNY) system. The program, formally titled SUNY 2020, provides for reasonable and predictable tuition increases at SUNY schools across the state.
“SUNY 2020 marks the beginning of a bright future for higher education in New York State. By implementing a rational, responsible and predictable tuition policy; we will empower SUNY to become an economic engine of research and development, better prepare its students, and create desperately needed jobs in a rapidly changing environment,” said Gallivan.
Senator Gallivan recognized the specific impact SUNY 2020 will have on Western New York, noting that, “SUNY 2020 will provide the University at Buffalo with the tools necessary to implement its long-term strategic growth plan, a plan with the potential to create thousands of jobs and position our region to compete in a 21st century global economy."
When enacted, SUNY 2020 will permit individual campuses to increase tuition annually by $300 for the next five years, in contrast to the current system which imposes sporadic and often knee-jerk tuition increases on students and schools. SUNY tuition is currently $4,970, making one the most affordable comprehensive public university systems in the nation.
Gallivan labeled the current system as “antiquated and nonsensical”, noting the detrimental effect mid-year tuition hikes can have on students, families, and SUNY’s individual campuses.
“SUNY Geneseo is nationally recognized as one of the premier public liberal arts colleges in the nation, but under the SUNY systems current constrictions, SUNY Geneseo was forced to eliminate several of its highly regarded programs. Had Geneseo been able to responsibly increase its own tuition and reliably predict its future revenue, rather than be subjected to the fiscal whims of the legislature, those programs could have been continued,” Gallivan said.
SUNY 2020 includes specific measures to safeguard the budgets of low and middle income students; state aid to SUNY will be held stable, students receiving full aid through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) will not be affected by the planned increases, and additional assistance funds will be administered by campuses to supplement education costs for families that make more than $80,000 but do not qualify for TAP.
“SUNY 2020 will make public education better for every New Yorker,” said Gallivan. “The protections ensure that granting campuses their fiscal autonomy does not interfere with the central purpose of a great public university system – making quality higher education affordable and accessible to all.”
Gallivan commended the broad based coalition of individuals and groups who persevered through the many delays, setbacks, alterations and incarnations this program has endured. He thanked the Governor, his colleagues in the legislature, Western New York’s university officials; the business, labor and faith based communities, and the tens of thousands of Western New York students, parents, and citizens, “who rallied around the concept of education based economic development, and united behind a new economic future for our region and our state.”