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State okays annual SUNY tuition hikes

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Albany/HV: State okays annual SUNY tuition hikes
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SUNY schools across the state are about to become a little bit pricier. State officials passed a bill that allows annual tuition hikes, about $300 each year. While no one likes to hear that prices are going up, our Rachael Paradis tells us that the reaction to this decision has actually been pretty positive.

NEW YORK STATE -- Over the past few years, SUNY colleges have endured a decline in state funding, while living costs continue to go up.

SUNY Canton Advancement V.P. Randy Sieminski said, "Inflation has gone up considerably and I don't think the tuition has kept up with it."

But some relief is coming for the public colleges. The State Senate and Assembly passed legislation Friday that allows for the first tuition hike since 2009. Over the next five years, tuition will go up about $300 annually.

Sieminski said, "For the most part, I think students understand. It's a fact of life that costs go up on occasion."

Ryan Williams, with the SUNY Potsdam Student Government, said, "As long as the money stays on campus, which would help support the colleges, that is absolutely amazing and wonderful."

The bill passed will also put the SUNY board in the seat of controlling tuition costs instead of it solely being the state's decision.

Sieminski said, "It will give SUNY a little bit more control in the future and options in determining tuition and be able to forecast that a little better."

SUNY schools have had 13 tuition hikes in the past 48 years. Some bigger than others and some years apart. The legislation passed put in mind that small, predictable jumps are easier to handle. Regardless, many people within the SUNY system are confident this won't affect enrollment.

Williams said, "SUNY in itself is very affordable and the means of SUNY is to be very affordable."

Sieminski said, "I don't think it's going to affect enrollment because it's still a tremendous value. SUNY Canton is still a value for the education that you get. We're less than half than a lot of private schools and if you compare us to other public schools."

While school doesn't start for another few months, Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill within the week.

The state university centers at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook are the exception when it comes to tuition hikes. Those schools could raise tuition up about 10 percent annually for five years.

The bill passed by the Senate also allows for $140 million in capital funding.

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