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Stony Brook students ask for continued planned tuition hikes

A group of Stony Brook University students showed

A group of Stony Brook University students showed up in Albany on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 to lobby for a system of gradual tuition increases that is set to expire. These students were on campus on Sept. 9, 2014. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

ALBANY - A group of Stony Brook University students traveled to the State Capitol Tuesday to ask lawmakers to hike their tuition.

That’s not an error.

The Stony Brook representatives said they support renewal of the so-called SUNY 2020 plan, which calls for planned tuition hikes over several years. When approved by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers in 2011, the plan mandated annual 5 percent tuition hikes at most of the State University of New York campuses and 8 percent at its four research centers, including Stony Brook.

Cuomo and other backers said the plan provided a “rational” tuition policy, replacing a boom-and-bust cycle of years of SUNY tuition freezes followed by huge one-year increases, some as high as 43 percent.

Stony Brook’s student government body recently passed a resolution supporting a renewal of the tuition policy — for now, it is slated to expire in 2016.  Students, who delivered that message to Long Island state legislators Tuesday, said the plan has worked to provide stability.

“I was never for it” when the plan was first floated, said Ramon Emilio Fernandez, a graduate student in the Technology and Society Department. But then he saw Stony Brook used the increase to increase faculty, including six new positions in his department.

“It has revitalized the department,” Fernandez said. “You see they have made an impact.”

Students Steven Adelson, Anna LuBitz and Jules Mayard, and alum Matthew Moore also were part of the lobbying effort. They said they believe Stony Brook is the first SUNY campus to come out in favor of renewing SUNY 2020.

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