College Guide


August 06, 2010 10:00 AM New York’s Reform Fail

By Daniel Luzer

New York State’s plan to allow SUNY schools to raise tuition without the approval of the state legislature has failed.

According to an article by Scott Waldman in the Albany Times Union:

The Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, which would allow campuses to set their own tuition and increase public and private partnerships with SUNY, had held up the state budget for weeks. Despite that drama and the nail-biting tension it caused for Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and other state higher education officials, it went down with a whimper, not included in the budget passed by the state Senate this week.

As Zimpher pointed out, she supported the bill because cuts from New York reduced SUNY’s total budget by $634 million. The SUNY system, however, has no authority to raise tuition and limited capacity to raise funds by other means.

Similar to Louisiana’s La GRAD Act, which Republican Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law on June 30, the SUNY Empowerment would have given the university system more power, though ultimately probably less state money.

The New York Public Interest Research Group and the SUNY professors union opposed the bill, arguing that SUNY Empowerment would raise tuition and cut low-income students out of college.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Anonymous on August 11, 2010 9:11 PM:

    Just to be clear a LOT of faculty SUPPORT this bill and are running into a lot of ugly from the union for voicing that support. It would not surprise me if a majority of faculty across NY support these reforms. The union, which I support in general, is flat wrooooong on this one.