Predicatable tuition increases for SUNY

On Aug. 9, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the NYSUNY 2020 legislation, allowing SUNY and CUNY schools to increase their tuitions $300 each year for five years, starting this year.

The legislation prevents dramatic jumps in tuition costs, which have been known to spike up to 40 percent. The legislation is also meant to erase the uncertainty of tentative tuition.

“With a rational tuition plan, our institutions can remain among the most affordable in the nation, while we can focus on delivering the highest value in education,” Oswego State president Deborah Stanley said in a statement on Aug. 9.

While Oswego State is deemed one of the most affordable universities, students and their families have never been guaranteed the lowest or the most predictable price.

“I think people want to have an expectation of what their increases are going to be,” Vice President of Administration Nicholas Lyons said.

The Board of Trustees can’t raise or lower tuition by more than $300 a year.

According to Lyons, this year the $300 will generate $1.9 million in revenue, but the budget cut is $3.3 million. He believes students will not be affected by the shortage.

“Academic and health and safety are the last areas that we would apply any reductions to,” Lyons said. “Like any business we keep reserves in place from the business to deal with budget reductions. We have done a good job of managing our finances. Students won’t feel the impact.”

The reserves were used in the spring semester to help compensate for the mid-year cuts and were expected to be utilized again. But the tuition increase offsets the cuts enough to allow the college to began restoring the faculty.

“Another immediate effect that you may be less aware of is that this new revenue has helped us to renew our faculty ranks after sustaining significant cuts in our state operating funds in recent years, since the recession began,” Stanley said in an email. “We’ve hired 37 new full-time faculty members.”

Oswego State will be able to make more tentative plans for its cash reserves, enabling families to make more secure and practical plans for students’ tuition money.

“Each individual college can plan much better knowing exactly how much revenue will be coming in,” Economics Professor Lawrence Spizman said. “I do not believe the legislation will save money for families, but it will allow them to plan their college budgets better knowing that there will not be a sudden large increase in tuition. I do not believe the plan is to cut costs. The plan is to increase tuition in a systematic fashion where colleges and students can better plan their futures.”