March 30, 2012

STATE BUDGET: At last, a higher education budget without cuts

Author: Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT Communications

The state's final budget will maintain level funding for New York's public four-year colleges and universities – the first time since 2008 that these schools will not face budget cuts.

The State University's three teaching hospitals, the community colleges, and student opportunity programs will see modest funding increases.

"We're grateful for the increases and the support here," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta in response to the budget agreement for higher education. "Hopefully, it signals an end to years of higher ed cuts."

The state's four-year colleges are in the first year of a five-year tuition increase plan that was part of last year's NY-SUNY 2020 enacted legislation, which supplements those schools' operating budgets.

Among the key increases in the higher education budget:

  • $27.8 million for the SUNY hospitals;
  • an additional $150 per student in funding for the SUNY and CUNY community colleges;

Another victory for NYSUT: The budget did not include a provision that would eliminate upper-division charge-backs at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Under state education law, when a student attends a community college outside of his or her county of residence, that county of residence pays a fee known as a "charge back" to the community college that the student attends. For community colleges that draw large numbers of students from all over the state and even from out of state, such as the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the charge-backs are an important source of revenue.