SUNY tuition has not escalated much

Farmingdale State College President W. Hubert Keen

Farmingdale State College President W. Hubert Keen

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Newsday's inclusion of "escalating state college tuitions" ["Cuomo: Big task, big payoff," News, Dec. 31] in his list of challenges facing Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not, as implied, based on the history of the State University of New York.

SUNY has had only seven tuition increases during the last 30 years, placing it at the lowest cost among peer institutions in the region, and lower than the national average. What's more, 90 percent of the last tuition increase, in 2009, went not to the campuses but into the state's general fund to help make up a budget shortfall.

SUNY's current tuition and fees are 28 percent less than public colleges in Pennsylvania, 34 percent less than the Connecticut state institutions and 109 percent lower than Rutgers University. During the past two years, New York has resorted to substantial reductions in state funding for SUNY and CUNY.

In light of these budgetary forces - declining state support and static tuition - Newsday would be correct to say that the new governor is confronted with major questions on the funding of public higher education. No significant escalation of tuition has occurred.

Hubert Keen

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