New York State (WBEN) - New York Governor Kathy Hochul's proposed budget for this fiscal year includes a 3% annual increase for SUNY and CUNY colleges for the next five years and up to a 6% increase in tuition at the state’s flagship “university centers” in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook.
Certified College Planning Specialist Jeff Boron from SendYourKidsToCollege.org says that even though these tuition hikes are still going to have some impact on the wallets of those attending SUNY schools, he doesn't believe this will deter students from attending these colleges.
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"The SUNY education system is a very good quality education for a lot less money than the alternatives. The increase obviously isn't favorable to the students. There's a little bit of protesting already starting, but at the end of the day, it's still a great value for your dollar."
While the SUNY colleges are becoming more expensive, private schools are trying to make their schools more affordable to compete.
"What private schools are doing now, they are now discounting to be competitive with SUNY schools. Those schools, after discount, become close to the cost of SUNY. You'll see people leave SUNY and go to the private schools, primarily because of the smaller class sizes. You can go to a private school for about the same class as SUNY, unless there's a special program that only SUNY has."
Programs like Excelsior, Boron says, where tuition is essentially offered at no charge.
"Private schools, on average are going to be significantly more than the SUNY schools. You have a lot more students going to SUNY's now, because of the Excelsior Program. In New York State, families making $125,000 or less qualify for free tuition. The one thing that Hochul did say is that this is going to extend and the Excelsior program will cover the increases. If you've got a full scholarship, that will cover the increased tuition as well. That's a little more palatable for a lot of families that are taken advantage of things like the Excelsior," Boron said.
Democrats in Washington have been campaigning for student loan debt forgiveness for well over a year now. Can you be a champion for erasing student debt and still support tuition increases?
It would appear to be an interesting contradiction that Boron believes is not probable.
"No. I mean, really, we should be focusing our time and energy on is looking at how to reduce the cost of college.
It really started escalating pretty heavily when the government got involved in the student loan process, and made student loans fairly popular and very easy to get. Which just caused the colleges to increase the tuition because, 'Hey, they're gonna get the money, let's charge them.'"