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Lawmakers seek to thwart Governor Hochul’s proposed SUNY tuition hike

Democrats in the New York State Senate will not include Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to raise yearly tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities in their budget resolution, according to sources familiar with the discussions. The tuition proposal, which would tie tuition to the Higher Education Price Index or 3%, would affect campuses at the State University of New York as well as the City University of New York.

The Senate budget proposal, set to be unveiled this week alongside the Democratic-led state Assembly, is a non-binding document but provides a roadmap for where lawmakers would like to take the negotiations with the governor over the next several weeks in the budget talks. Assembly Democrats have also been uneasy with the tuition increase proposal from Hochul, contained in her $227 billion budget proposal.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Hochul defended the tuition increase proposal as modest and one that would not affect students who receive full financial support from the Tuition Assistance Program or the Excelsior scholarship. However, legislative leaders have expressed their discomfort with the proposal, stating that they need to find a different way to raise tuition.

The ongoing financial challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, growing costs, and declining enrollment have put pressure on public higher education in recent years.