A message from Dr. John M. Anderson, President of Alfred State College
As New Yorkers, we continue to feel the painful fallout of New York’s deep financial crisis. We know that tough measures will need to be taken to return the state to fiscal health. And so, I applaud Gov. Cuomo on his hard-hitting stance on the New York State budget.
However, the State University of New York (SUNY) in general, and Alfred State College, in particular, have suffered debilitating funding cuts of more than $619M over the past three years. Alfred State has weathered these cuts through careful foresight and management of resources and without loss of personnel. However, this most recent cut of $150M in Gov. Cuomos’s budget makes it harder to maintain that equilibrium without our having to take more drastic measures. SUNY must be allowed to generate revenue through tuition increases, one of the few reliable methods available to it.
To that end, I wholeheartedly support SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s initiative for a five-year responsible, predictable, and fair tuition increase policy. This initiative would allow students and their families to predict with greater certainty their college expenses.
Over the last 48 years, SUNY has been allowed to raise tuition only 13 times. The smallest tuition increase was 7 percent ($310) in 2009-10. The highest increase was 43 percent ($650) in 1991-92. Seventeen times since 1963, a first-year student entered SUNY and during his or her college career never had to pay a tuition increase while others saw two or three increases. This inconsistency makes it not only unfair and difficult for students and families to plan, but creates almost insurmountable challenges for college administrators to plan and preserve quality programs and services.
Students across the SUNY system are in agreement with the Chancellor’s plan as well, provided that the increase is used at their respective campuses, and not to help refill the state’s empty coffers as was done in the past.
The New York State Legislature already has experience in long-range planning. With the approval of legislators, SUNY receives funding over a five-year period to maintain its facilities. This is a thoughtful approach to preserving the quality of our buildings and infrastructure. We ask the New York State Legislature to make the same commitment to our academic programs and services by implementing a rational five-year tuition increase plan. This would go a long way to ensure that SUNY and Alfred State can continue to provide the exceptional education they are known for. Please write, call, e-mail, or phone your local representatives and urge them to support a SUNY five-year rational tuition plan.
What can you do to help?
Please visit the SUNY Advocates Web site to send your State legislators an e-mail  and urge them to show their support for SUNY.