State budget cuts hit colleges hard

The Stony Brook University Medical Center. The Stony Brook University Medical Center. Photo Credit: John Dunn

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ALBANY -- For the fourth straight year, New York's public higher education system took a big hit in the budget.

The Senate passed a budget just before midnight that would cut more than $300 million from state and New York City universities and community colleges. The Assembly continued to debate the budget into the early hours this morning.

Among the cuts are $115 million from SUNY aid, $48 million from three teaching hospitals, including Stony Brook University, and more than $33 million from state and New York City community colleges.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to sign the bill Thursday.

With this round of cuts, SUNY officials say the system has lost more than $1.4 billion in state funding since 2008. Wednesday, Morgan Hook, a spokesman for SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, said the budget "is certainly painful, but forces New York to live within its means."

Hook said Zimpher and college presidents were still determining "how we will proceed with managing another reduction in state support."

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Cuomo proposed even deeper cuts, slashing all $135 million in state aid to teaching hospitals, including the entire $55-million subsidy to Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Cuomo wanted more than $46 million taken from community colleges and $5 million from the Long Island Veterans Home.

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