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Lawmakers and unions push for increased higher SUNY funding

State lawmakers, in collaboration with union members, are advocating for greater investment in New York’s higher education system in the upcoming budget. While Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed $233 billion budget includes $207 million for SUNY and CUNY campuses, legislators are aiming for additional funding to address potential deficits that could reach $1 billion over the next decade. Assembly Higher Education Committee chair Pat Fahy emphasized the need for further support, acknowledging the federal government’s limited contribution.

United University Professions, representing SUNY faculty and staff, is seeking an increase in state aid to $139 million for SUNY campuses and $110 million for student programs and services. This push is driven by a commitment to ensure students’ educational needs are met without resorting to tuition hikes. Last year’s budget agreement prevented tuition increases, with the state covering proposed hikes through additional operating aid.

Lawmakers, led by Fahy and Senate Higher Education Committee chair Toby Ann Stavisky, are also focusing on adjusting the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to support more low- and middle-income students. They propose raising TAP grants by $1,000 and expanding income eligibility, addressing the gap between tuition costs and state-provided aid. Stavisky advocates for eliminating student fees to improve affordability and enrollment. As SUNY faces a looming financial shortfall, the push for increased funding and sustainable support remains a critical issue for the state’s higher education sector.