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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Rise in Tuition Expected Next Semester If PHEEIA Passes

The Undergraduate Student Government has formed a new committee to inspect the potential tuition increases if the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, or PHEEIA passes through the state legislature this spring.

The formation of the committee, Students First,’ comes after the USG determined that students have not been given a proper education on the bill.’

USG announced the news via a press release on Feb. 16. Now, after a review of PHEEIA, the committee has come forward with a preliminary report of its findings.

According to USG Senator Deborah Machalow, a member of the newly formed committee, one of the most striking things is the power that it would give President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.
The bill would allow the president, with consultation of USG and the university council, to propose tuition increases of any amount directly to the board of trustees.

This also includes the power to recommend differential tuition, where the amount of money a student pays would differ based on the classes and programs they register for.

‘In a way it makes sense, but in a way it gets very iffy because certain requirements like the D.E.C. system requires you to take a certain number of sciences,’ said Machalow. ‘How then do you take science classes, do you pay extra? Or do you not pay extra?’

Stanley defended PHEEIA in his press conference to the students, sighting its benefits to the university. ‘When we calculated what PHEEIA would mean to Stony Brook we calculated an average of about a six to seven percent increase,’ Stanley said. ‘All of that money would go to our campus.’

The report also states that PHEEIA would institute a cap on the number of out-of-state students at the university, and while it would still allow Stony Brook to grant scholarships and financial aid to students based on need, there is no protection for merit-based scholarships.

However, not all information in the report issued by the committee was negative. The investigation found that, under PHEEIA, all money collected by Stony Brook University could be held on to by the school rather than the state. In addition, the money would be seen as ‘self-supporting’ and could be used without prior approval.

Although the report on PHEEIA has now been issued, the job of the committee is not yet done according to Machalow. The overall goal is to find out how the students feel.

Students can now go online and take a survey on PHEEIA and tuition increases. The data will then be analyzed and a final report will be issued as a press release. ‘I’d like to give students a chance to have a say in what happens to their tuition,’ Machalow said.

David Wendt, a sophomore, said that the problem lies a bit higher up. ‘It’s an Albany problem, we’ve got budget shortfall everywhere. I’m glad that they’re making our voices heard.’ said Wendt. Still, he’s happy that USG is attempting to help.

‘I think it’s kind of unfair that they’re punishing students because Albany can’t keep their finances in order,’ said junior Kevin Sabella, a political science major. Sabella said he doesn’t feel the survey will be very effective, but he hopes that students take it. ‘The average student shouldn’t just take this with a grain of salt, their tuition is going to go up.’

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