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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Let the Tuition Battle Begin

    There are sixteen members on the SUNY Board of Trustees. Fifteenof them are appointed by the governor of New York. Like George Pataki, they seemto have a keen sense of politics.

    Consider: the proposed SUNY budget for 2003-2004, including amajor

    $1,400 tuitionincrease, was approved and released this past on Jan. 17, this past Friday. Notjust any Friday, mind you, but the Friday prior to a three-day, holidayweekend. Which means most New Yorkers heard about this news on Saturday, alwaysthe slowest news day of the week.

    Coincidence? Don’t bet on it.

    Give the trustees credit though. They know an unpopular news itemwhen they vote on one. Obviously, they wanted this tidbit to garner as little mediaattention as possible, so they shrewdly went about making that possible. I amsure they made the governor proud.

    But that sort of politicking happens all the time. So we’llgive them a pass on that. What isn’t quite so common, however, is the recommended41 percent increase to current tuition rates, which would be the largest inSUNY history.

    There’s all sorts of political spin going on here. Toillustrate that, I pulled quotes directly from the official SUNY news release announcingthe budget. My own conclusions follow in parentheses.

    1) ‘?Therehas not been a tuition increase in seven years.’ (What they don’ttell you: When tuition last went up in 1995, SUNY enrollment dropped by fivepercent over the next two years).

    2) ‘?Theincrease would have no effect on SUNY’s 30 community colleges.'(Translation: the other 34 institutions within the SUNY system will face thetuition hike).

    3) ‘?Underthe current TAP program, more than half of SUNY undergraduates receive TAP; 60%of those TAP recipients would see NO INCREASE in their tuition.'(Translation: almost 50 percent of all undergraduate SUNY students receive noTAP assistance. For those who do, 40 percent of them will see an increase intheir tuition.)

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ NewYorkers have just reelected a governor who has submitted several proposals inthe past to significantly reduce overall SUNY and TAP funding. Governor Patakipresents his next budget in nine days.’ In his State of the State addressa few weeks ago, he called on New York to become the ‘?tax-cutting capitalof America.” Do the numbers add up in favor of the governorreducing the financial burden on students? You do the math.

    In my own humble opinion, we students are all that stand between$3,400 in tuition per year and $4,800 in tuition per year. Our governor has notstood with us in the past, and our trustees are not standing with us now. If wedo not protest, we will be complicit in a scheme which will quite possiblyprevent thousands of students from ever going to college. The Office of theChancellor can be reached at 518-443-5355. It is imperative that our voices beheard without delay.

    By the way, I left a message at that number over the weekend,inviting Chancellor King to come to Stony Brook and speak with students aboutthe tuition issue. More on that as soon as (if?) I receive a reply.

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