Read this letter from Stony Brook students to SUNY Chancellor Zimpher about the hypocrisy of this bill and how it may lead to 100% tuition increases in the next 10 years in New York State.

From Some Stony Brook business blog:

Senate endorses SUNY setting tuitions
by Claude Solnik

The New York State Senate on Monday approved a budget that would give the State University of New York system the power to set its own tuition and the right to keep that money at the schools rather than having it sent to the general fund.

The Senate approved many elements of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act that Gov. David Paterson had included in his budget.

The actions collectively would create a more independent SUNY system that educators said would let it raise tuition, possibly more frequently but by smaller increments, and rely on that money to fund the schools.

“This puts tuition in the hands of the SUNY board of trustees,” said Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “It’s good because in the past the legislature has tended to not have a consistent policy. Years would go by when they didn’t raise tuition even though the costs on campus went up.”

The budget also would allow the state’s research universities, including Stony Brook, to charge a different rate than other SUNY schools, potentially leading to higher costs at those institutions.

“It reflects the fact that our infrastructure is more expensive to maintain,” Stanley said of schools with a research component. “We would be able to charge a slightly higher amount.”

Stanley said in the past that the legislature has used tuition as a way of raising funds for the state, rather than simply for the schools, resulting in hikes when the economy is most difficult.

“When the state got in a financial situation and things were toughest for students and their parents, they would raise tuition and put it in their coffers,” Stanley said.

The most recent SUNY tuition raise, a 14 percent hike, in the first year included 90 percent for the state and 10 percent for schools followed by 80 percent to the state and 20 percent to the schools in the second year.

The New York State Assembly hasn’t weighed in on the issue of the system’s right to set tuition, although there has been some resistance there out of concerns that raising tuition might minimize access. The state legislature currently sets tuition rates.

But Stanley said the system would plough back some of the increased revenue into scholarships, so tuition would remain accessible even to the most needy.

At about $5,000 a year, SUNY universities have among the lowest tuition of all schools included among the American Association of Universities.

SUNY began March 4

March 10, 2010

With State University of New York administrators openly planning to centralize and overhaul the tuition processes throughout the system, New York faces a crisis in higher public education as devastating as California’s. In fact, some administrative proposals argue for an incremental 100% increase in SUNY tuition over the next 10 years. Here's a rundown on how NY campuses began to fight last week:

Stony Brook University:
Around 75 students rally and plan to storm a press conference between University President Stanley and SUNY Chancellor Zimpher. The action was thwarted when security somehow were informed of the action, and were able to pen students in barricades. The students were able to deliver a version of this note to President Stanley as he exited.

During a follow-up demonstration outside a closed press conference about SUNY cuts on March 8th, students were threatened with citation and harassed by police. More information here.

Video from rally.

University of Albany: Banner drop from Lecture Center:

SUNY Purchase– A massive rally and brief occupation of the Student Services building ended after police invasion. Detailed report-back hopefully to come. More is likely to be planned at this weekend’s Active Resistance conference.

March Forth Tour Dates:
Thursday Feb 18th– SUNY Purchase
Wednesday Feb 24th– SUNY Stony Brook
Friday Feb 26th– SUNY Albany
Saturday Feb 27th– SUNY New Paltz

Get in touch if you can help out with any of these dates!

A response to the University’s Capital Planning Seminar taking place earlier in the same building.