A report released Tuesday by the New York Public Interest Research Group found public college campuses in New York have charged students $3 billion more in scheduled tuition increases at the state and city universities.
The report, which assessed campuses in both the SUNY and CUNY systems, found that when considering tuition aid through the Tuition Assistance Program, and the newly approved Excelsior Scholarship program, students have still paid $2.5 billion in added tuition.
In-state tuition to a SUNY campus is now just over $7,000 without factoring in room, board and fees.
The legislature agreed in 2011 to the approval of SUNY 2020, a provision that allowed for annual tuition increases.
NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner said the increases over the last decade show the state needs to direct more spending to colleges.
“It’s real sticker shock when it comes to the increase in tuition — billions of dollars being paid by public college students and their families and we think the state should step up and fill what appears to be significant shortfalls across the system,” he said.
In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration noted the state’s spending for SUNY and CUNY has increased in recent years. At the same time, 55 percent of full-time resident undergraduates attend public colleges tuition free, while 67 percent graduate debt free.
“The facts are clear: State support for SUNY and CUNY under this administration has increased by 30% while tuition assistance, including the Excelsior Scholarship for the middle class, has made it possible for more than half their full-time undergraduate students to pay no tuition at all, enabling two-thirds of these students to graduate debt free,” said Freeman Klopott, a spokesman for the Division of Budget. “With tuition rates among the lowest in the country, SUNY and CUNY provide tremendous value, and with SUNY 2020 we have put an end to the unpredictable double digit percentage tuition increases of the past.”