ALBANY, N.Y. Jan. 23, 2018 — In testimony on Gov. Cuomo’s executive budget, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta called on the state to boost its investment in state public higher education institutions to ensure that campuses can provide the programs and faculty to help students succeed. While the Excelsior Scholarship program has increased opportunities for students and enrollment at SUNY and CUNY, overall state support for public higher education remains below 2009 levels when adjusted for inflation. Pallotta said those increases must be met with additional state resources to fund full-time faculty, course offerings and student support services.
“A greater state investment in SUNY, CUNY and its community college system is essential if these institutions are going to thrive in their critical mission of preparing New Yorkers for the next wave of good jobs created by a growing economy,” Pallotta said. “All New Yorkers should have access to the kind of quality, affordable higher education provided by SUNY, CUNY and our community colleges. Now is the time for New York State to renew its commitment.”
From 2007-08 to 2017-18, SUNY community college students went from paying 39.4 percent of the operating costs to approximately 41.4 percent, while the state’s contribution fell from 31.3 percent to 25.4 percent.
“Increasing funding to community colleges is essential. These gateway institutions must be able to continue to provide first-rate academic programs and services to students,” Pallotta said.
NYSUT also urged significantly greater state support for SUNY’s public hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse.
Pallotta once again implored the Legislature to protect SUNY hospitals from devastating cuts. He noted the proposed budget would eliminate a critical state subsidy, jeopardizing the ability of these public teaching hospitals to continue to serve as a vital lifeline for patients and to train the next generation of physicians and health care professionals.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
Andy Pallotta, President, NYSUT