Public college spending in New York could be in for either a flat or modest increase in spending in a finalized state budget — worrying the union that represents faculty and staff at the City University of New York. 

A source familiar with the talks on Friday said funding for the State University of New York and City University of New York is not in store for a major increase in spending. A tuition freeze would be in place for students, but the revenue an increase would have generated will not be added. 

“We had been led to believe that this year, finally, the needs of public higher ed would be addressed after years of budgets that left CUNY and SUNY behind," said PSC-CUNY President Barbara Bowen. "If this budget rejects the tuition increase but fails to add the money the tuition hike would have produced, it will be a betrayal of Black and brown students. The result would be reduced courses and support; freezing tuition without adding the necessary funds would sabotage students’ chance of success while appearing to support them.” 

The concerns over the budget for public colleges and universities in New York is especially acute this year following the financial strain put on higher education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

State lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo are yet to sign off on a finalized budget agreement.