CUTTING INTO RESERVES

"Programs that rely on government funding, like SUNY and Oswego State, will soon be facing large-scale cuts with the adoption of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2011-12 state budget on March 31. The state budget is two percent less than last year’s and will help reduce the state deficit by $10 billion. This incoming budget will force Oswego State to tap into its reserve funds.

""We knew these cuts were coming," Nick Lyons, vice president of administration and finance, said. "We wanted to make sure that we could deal with the budget cuts."

"It remains unknown exactly how much will be taken from Oswego State, because the money will be taken from the SUNY account and then divided among the campuses. The budget for the 2011-12 year will cut approximately $91 million from the SUNY account, which supports 64 campuses and currently supports almost 500,000 students.

""It’s going to be difficult regardless, it’s the fourth year of budget cuts," Lyons said. "It gets harder to find places to take money from and keep a good product."

"Oswego State had been putting money into reserve accounts for a time when it would be necessary to alleviate budget reductions, such as the cuts for the 2011-12 year. The school had to tap into this fund last semester when there was a mid-year adjustment, which took over $600,000 from the account.

"That was the first time it had really needed the account, but for the upcoming budget for the 2011-2012 year, Lyons already knows they will be relying on the reserve accounts.

"These cuts bring into consideration the tuition and concerns with the appropriation of tuition money. $434 of every student’s tuition bill goes to the state toward non-SUNY related accounts.

"Oswego State President Deborah Stanley wrote in an editorial piece Wednesday for The Post-Standard that this $434 was essentially a tax on students. She also said that this money is only for SUNY students: CUNY and community colleges are not included.

"There has been contemplation over what would happen if the money were to stay in the SUNY system.

""If you have 8,000 students and $500 (approximately) each (reinvested into the school), that’s a lot faculty positions you could save," said economics professor Lawrence Spizman.

"This was cited as part of the problem when New York hiked state tuition in December 2008 by $620 and most of the money did not get reinvested into the colleges.

""The last increase was $620 and most was used by Gov. Paterson to solve problems across the state," Lyons said.

"Both Lyons and Spizman said that the inconsistent increasing of tuition is damaging not only to the school, but to families as well.

"" If SUNY had a more consistent pricing policy like two or three percent in each year, rather than larger increases, it would be easier for Oswego to cover costs," Spizman said.

"With the cuts, Lyons said that it seems likely that there will be a tuition increase.

""I think we realize these are difficult economic times," Lyons said. "We feel education is a major part of the solution and we would like to work with the governor to solve some of the problems."

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