Amanda Seef needs a little over USD $600 for her final year at Brockport College, which is the approximate amount that her tuition is increasing due to the State University of New York’s (SUNY) 2009 14 percent tuition hike.
“Between the private credit crunch and the tuition increase, I was considering moving home and studying at a community college where the journalism program is in shambles,” Seef said.
What upsets Seef is that only $62 of her $620-increase will benefit SUNY. The remaining 90 percent of increased tuition will go to New York’s $1.6 billion Critical Deficit Reduction Legislation. In total, the tuition increase is expected to contribute $61million to the Critical Deficit Reduction Legislation.
Students across New York State are struggling to stay in college because of the tuition increase. Many have dropped out.
Barmak Nassirian, Associate Executive Director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, explained that while 10 percent of increased tuition will not improve education, students could still experience financial pressure until the budget is balanced.
Jane Shaw, President of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, said that the money being spent by students will not improve the SUNY system.
The lack of improvement frustrates students who supported tuition hikes. SUNY Brockport senior Salena Morgan said that she, like many students, is disappointed with the use of funds rather than the hike itself.
“It’s costing more, but we have the same rundown buildings, the same professors and the same packed classrooms. We’re not benefiting or receiving anything from this tuition hike other than more student debt,” Seef said.
Seef feels it is unfair that 90 percent of the tuition increases go to the state, while the state only covers 30 percent of her tuition.
Dr. Katherine Forrest, President of the Commonweal Institute, a nonpartisan alliance focusing on progressive approaches to solving society’s problems, said that the SUNY system can make improvements through re-budgeting, rather than receiving more money.
“Are the changes that are being proposed going to result in students being more knowledgeable and more skilled and better able to do the kind of jobs we want our society to be able to provide?” asked Forrest. “Or are these things fancy alternatives for information and skills that can be learned in other ways?”