BREAKING: By a vote of 51 to 11, the state senate passed the SUNY 2020 bill on Friday that will raise tuition by up to $300 per year through 2016.
The bill, which is expected to pass in the Assembly shortly and will likely be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo within the week, takes effect on July 1.
EARLIER: The NYSUNY 2020 bill has finally been released to the public ahead of a vote in the Assembly and Senate.
Included in the bill is a provision that locks Albany into its current level of state funding for the university system, except in cases of fiscal emergencies as defined by the Governor and both houses of the legislature. That’s a key victory for supporters of SUNY 2020, who threatened lawmakers that if such a provision was not included, any changes to tuition rates would not succeed.
Also part of the final bill is the governor’s challenge grant, a program that would send up to $35 million to each of the four university centers to fund specific projects. (Read about Stony Brook’s Challenge Grant proposal here).
Missing from the final bill though is a provision that guarantees any increases remain with SUNY. That, too, was heavily lobbied by university presidents, including Stony Brook President Samuel Stanley, and its omission is sure to ruffle a few feathers among critics of the bill.
Also unclear is exactly how much tuition will increase. Our initial interpretation of the language regarding tuition increases seems to suggest the SUNY Board of Trustees is granted the authority to raise rates by up to $300 per year for five years system wide-starting this fall.
But also included is a paragraph that calls for the four university centers—Stony Brook, Buffalo, Albany and Binghamton—to each submit proposals to increase tuition up to 10% per year for the same five year period. In public discussions, President Stanley has suggested Stony Brook would impose a 7 to 8 percent hike, or roughly between $350 and $400 per year.
It’s unclear whether any increase by the SUNY Board of Trustees would be overruled by individual university centers’ own tuition hikes or be levied in addition to them, a move that could result in annual hikes of as much as $700 per year for Stony Brook.
The bill has been introduced in both houses of the legislature but has not yet come to a vote as of this hour.