No Increase for SUNY Ulster Tuition - Daily Hudson Valley News

No Increase for SUNY Ulster Tuition

Jun 17th, 2014 | By | Category: Lead Article

The preliminary 2014-2015 SUNY Ulster budget included an increase to student tuition totaling $241,538.  Unfortunately, the only option presented to avoid this by the Legislative Chairman and his Vice Chairman was a dramatic increase in county taxpayer spending through a sharp escalation in the County’s contribution.

“It is disappointing and unfortunate that the current Legislative Chair and his Vice-Chair chose not to include my administration in these discussions prior to their actions,” said County Executive Hein. “Upon receipt of the tentative College budget by my administration on Wednesday night, it became apparent that not all options had been explored.  So I directed my financial team to identify a better way and they quickly found a solution that eliminates the need for a tuition increase, maintains high quality education and protects taxpayers as well.”

“I want to thank Majority Leader Don Gregorius, Minority Leader Ken Ronk, Legislator Lynn Archer, along with the Democratic Caucus and many others, for their persistence and for reaching out to my administration to identify a better, bipartisan solution,” continued the County Executive.    “I also want to thank SUNY Ulster President Katt who leads a tremendous institution for his appreciation of the fiscal challenges faced by the County. Dr. Katt along with the President of the Board of Trustees William Spearman are steadfast in their commitment to high quality education in Ulster County.  Unfortunately, even though we have designed a solution for this year, the problems in funding higher education are systemic.”

“The statutory funding split of operational cost of one-third county, one-third state and one-third tuition has been eroded by the State Legislature,” said SUNY Ulster President Don Katt.  “Instead of the one-third split funding formula, what we have is the state not keeping up with their required allocation of one-third.  The state now pays about 24 percent of its share, with tuition and fees accounting for nearly 50 percent of costs.”

“Everyone agrees how important education is and its value can not be overstated in today’s world,” added County Executive Mike Hein.  “However, many are being priced out of the system by skyrocketing college tuition costs at many of our nation’s universities.  SUNY Ulster stands in stark contrast by offering a high quality education at an extremely reasonable price.  As the first member of my family to have graduated from college I appreciate the importance of higher education and I am sensitive to the financial buy cheap xanax pills burdens placed on students and their families.”

“By partnering with SUNY Ulster we have identified areas to reduce expenses rather than spend additional taxpayer dollars.  Both President Katt and Board President Spearman are committed to protecting students and are identifying savings totaling $121,000, or approximately half of the proposed tuition increase,” continued County Executive Mike Hein.  “Additionally, my administration has identified savings related to the College’s current lease with the County for its space at the Business Resource Center.  These savings represent the other half of the now unnecessary tuition increase.  This temporary solution provides a window of time for our County Legislature to work with our State Legislative Representatives to increase state aid back to an amount envisioned in New York State Law.”

“The Democratic Caucus fully appreciates the importance of higher education in our community,” said Majority Leader Don Gregorius.  “Working together with the County Executive, this solution represents the best of both worlds for our students and taxpayers.”

“As a SUNY Ulster graduate I am always concerned about the impact of tuition increases on our students,” said Minority Leader Ken Ronk.  “I am pleased to partner with County Executive Hein and I want to thank him for working in a bipartisan manner in order to offer a fiscally responsible solution that ensures the continued provision of affordable high quality education here in Ulster County.”

“The people of my district expect government to protect taxpayers, provide services and ensure a high quality education is available for everyone,” added Legislator Lynn Archer.  “This solution protects the taxpayers and the students by freezing tuition for the upcoming year without simply throwing money at the problem, so I am proud to partner with the County Executive in providing leadership on this issue.”

In its 2014 budget, Ulster County made a substantial investment in higher education by providing a $6,280,863 contribution to SUNY Ulster which is the third highest county contribution percentage to a community college in New York State.  In addition to this direct aid, the County also provides over $3.5 million annually in chargeback expenses for students attending surrounding community colleges, and funds half the expense of all SUNY Ulster capital projects which led to an additional County payment of almost $5 million over the last five years.  In total, Ulster County government provides almost $11 million annually to support SUNY Ulster to achieve its educational mission.

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