It looks as if things have gotten so bad over at the State University of New York that students are actually agreeing that tuition hikes are necessary to keep the system's 64 campuses viable, the Times Union reports. The SUNY student assembly, which represents the system's 427,000 students, overwhelmingly backed a new policy that would implement moderate tuition increases each year.
"It's not often that students come together for a public university and say, 'We need higher tuition,' " said the assembly's spokesman. "I think this is a strong indicator of the state that New York is in right now ... that we're in such a dire economic situation that students themselves are standing up and saying we're willing to pay a little more for a public education to protect the quality."
The unusual student request was made as SUNY faces the largest budget reduction in its history, which some estimate could be up to $210 million, with maybe more to come.
Tuition, meanwhile, has remained at $4,350 since 2003, when it was raised 28 percent. SUNY has typically kept tuition flat for several years then instituted a huge increase to offset widening budget gaps. The students are advocating a "rational tuition policy" of "modest, predictable increases" with hikes around 2.5 to 4 percent.
"It's not that we want a tuition increase," the student assembly's spokesman added. "It's that we understand that one is necessary."