Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cuomo Raised SUNY Tuition By More Than 25% - Now He Cares About Students With Loan Debt?

From the NY Times:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will propose legislation to ease the debt burden of thousands of college graduates, an administration official said.

Under the governor’s proposal, to be unveiled in his State of the State address on Wednesday, the state would cover two years of loan payments for graduates of New York State colleges who make less than $50,000 a year, continue to live in the state and are enrolled in the federal Pay as You Earn program, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposal has not been released.

Roughly 60 percent of students who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in New York in 2013 took on debt, and the average amount was $26,381, according to a report by the Institute for College Access and Success. The report did not include graduates from for-profit colleges, who generally accumulate more debt.

The governor’s office projects that up to 7,100 people would benefit in the program’s first year, increasing to 24,000 by 2020, as more students hear about the program and enroll in Pay as You Earn to qualify. The state would pay an average of $3,500 toward each participant’s loans.

Students who finish two- or four-year degree programs in 2015 or later would be eligible for the assistance. Students who do not graduate — who statistically are more likely to be from low-income families — would not be helped.

Sounds fabulous, right?

Cuomo's looking to help students burdened with excessive student loan debt and a tough job market, particularly for newly-minted graduates.

Except if he cares so much about students and loan debt, why did he push to raise SUNY tuition by 40% at the the university centers and 25% at the other SUNY campuses back in 2011?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday proposed increasing tuition by more than 25 percent over five years at most State University of New York campuses and by more than 40 percent at the university centers over the same period — measures he said would help parents with college planning and boost SUNY to top academic levels nationally.

His proposal, in the form of a bill, would add $4,370 over five years to the annual tuition at the university centers in Buffalo, Binghamton, Albany and Stony Brook, and add $2,330 to the tuition at SUNY's other 60 campuses. The governor's bill also would create SUNY's first two-tiered system for tuition.

When students and their families complained about the tax hike plan, Cuomo told them to suck it up and deal with "financial reality."

Ultimately the governor and the legislature settled on this for the hike:

The State University of New York Board of Trustees today approved a policy that will increase tuition $300 a year for the next five years, along with SUNY’s 2011-12 financial plan. Lawmakers gave final passage last Friday to legislation that authorizes SUNY to make the hikes, removing the topic of tuition from the annual state budget process for the next several years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who agreed on legislation with the Senate and Assembly, has not signed the bill yet.

The increase will take effect this fall. Tuition for in-state undergraduate students at SUNY’s 29 state-operated campuses will increase from $4,970 to $5,270 this fall. Tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students will increase 10 percent a year over the five years.

The tuition hike total came to more than 25% over five years.  In addition, Cuomo refused to increase the percentage of state aid that covers costs at SUNY, so "SUNY students are paying an ever-increasing share of SUNY's costs, shifting the burden of public higher education to them and away from taxpayers."

Cuomo's refusal to do the state's part in covering SUNY costs sets up a need for future tuition and fee increases even after the five year, 25%+ hike is finished.

Now Cuomo releases this plan to help students with student loan burdens even as he has added to that burden by raising SUNY tuition more than 25% over five years and refused to raise the percentage of state aid to SUNY, thus setting up a need for future tuition and fee hikes.

Cuomo thinks people will have forgotten that he raised tuition 25%+ over five years and refused to do the state's share in covering SUNY costs, thus sowing the seeds of future hikes, and hail him as an advocate for students.

He may be right about that, I dunno.

But I'll do my best to remind some of them in my little corner of the blogosphere that while Cuomo's loan plan here is all well and fine, it would have been better if coupled with him coughing up more state aid for SUNY along with limiting the tuition hikes that have been instituted over the past five years.