By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Students at New York's public universities may see a steady rise in their tuition rates, if state legislators accept a budgetary measure proposed by Governor David Paterson.
The issue of whether to give public universities the power to determine their own tuition rates — a move that would cause a steady and permanent rise in the price of public education — became the newest roadblock in the state's budget debate this week, with the governor fighting hard for the revenue-producing measure, the New York Times reported.
“The governor is now saying, ‘SUNY is what I absolutely, positively need to close down the budget,’" an unnamed legislative official told the Times.
But the measure would also relinquish lawmakers' control over tuition rates at City University of New York (CUNY) schools, linking them instead to the Higher Education Price Index, which would cause prices to rise faster than inflation, the paper said.
Opponents of the proposal claim that the increase would place an undue burden on students and families, but proponents insist that it would simply steady an inevitable increase in the price of higher education and provide an immediate increase in resources for the schools, according to the Times.
The measure would also create a separate tier for the state's elite public institutions, like Hunter College on the Upper East Side, which would allow administrators to multiply the index by a higher multiple, the paper noted.
If the measure is accepted, the governor's office predicted that the school's tuition would not exceed $10,741 over the next decade, according to the Times.