Permanent endowment would help to improve SUNY, CUNY colleges

Stefanie Botelho's picture
Thursday, March 27, 2014

A college degree opens doors to personal opportunity and success. But years of budget cuts to New York’s public university system have made the path to a diploma even more challenging for students — and not in a positive way.

By the end of this month, state lawmakers will finalize the 2014-15 state budget. The governor’s executive budget proposal gave public higher education institutions little to cheer about. His spending plan froze support for State University of New York state-operated campuses and City University of New York campuses for the third consecutive year. SUNY and CUNY have endured $2 billion in state budget cuts over the last five years.

To plug the funding gap, SUNY campuses have relied on annual tuition increases. In the late 1990s, 65 percent of SUNY’s operating budget came from state support. Now, students are paying 65 percent of the cost to run the state’s public university system. And they’re paying more and getting less — students routinely deal with larger class sizes, fewer class sections and delayed graduations.

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