Democrats in the New York state Senate will attempt to thwart Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to raise yearly tuition at the state's public college and universities by jettisoning a plan that would tie tuition to the Higher Education Price Index or 3%, sources familiar with the discussions said Monday night.
The state Senate is set to unveil its budget resolution this week alongside the Democratic-led state Assembly. The Senate budget proposal will not include the tuition proposal from Hochul.
The tuition proposal from Hochul would affect campuses at the State University of New York as well as the City University of New York.
Legislative budget resolutions are non-binding documents, but provide a roadmap for where lawmakers would like to take the negotiations over the next several weeks with the governor in the budget talks.
Assembly Democrats have also been uneasy with the tuition increase proposal from Hochul, contained in her $227 billion budget proposal.
“Me personally, as a graduate of SUNY for undergrad and CUNY for graduate school, you know, that one kind of strikes to me. I’m still paying my undergraduate student loan," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told Capital Tonight earlier this month. "So yeah, that one is kind of…I’m not very happy about. I think the schools need the money, but I think we have to figure out a different way of raising tuition.”
Hochul has defended the tuition increase proposal as modest and one that would not affect students who receive full financial support from the Tuition Assistance Program or the Excelsior scholarship.
"New York deserves the best public higher education system and Gov. Hochul is committed to building world-class, equitable institutions," her office said eaarlier this month.
The debate over SUNY and CUNY tuition is coming as public higher education has faced financial squeezes over the last several years amid the ongoing challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, growing costs and in some instances declining enrollment.
The state budget is expected to pass by April 1.