March 17, 2005; 7:35pm
I write you tonight to provide an update on the afternoon's activities in conference committees as well as to issue a Call To Action on the SUNY Tuition Guarantee.
This afternoon's Higher Education Conference Committee meeting was relatively short. There was general agreement on the buyback of the Tuition Assistance Program and a discussion of "inside baseball" budgeting (too complicated to explain).
From there Senator LaValle led the discussion on tuition at SUNY, specifically the rejection of the $500 increase proposed by the Executive Budget and the need to provide full appropriation authority for SUNY at $84.3 million with a small tuition increase, based on the CPI (+ $121) and the institution of a rational tuition policy. While rejecting the $500 proposed increase was agreed to by both sides, there was disagreement on increasing tuition based on CPI and an acceptance that the rational tuition policy needed to be discussed (not necessarily acted upon). The Senate Majority & Assembly Minority spoke in favor of it and the Assembly Majority and Senate Minority spoke against it. The good news is that they are discussing it publicly.
The issue of a rational tuition policy is alive. HOWEVER, THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY TO AFFECT THIS ISSUE IS SHORT....AS IN TOMORROW.
This is a crItical time in the budget process. Please contact your State Legislators and reinforce your support for the tuition guarantee program. Mobilizing your campus leadership (students and faculty) would also be of great assistance. They need to hear this issue is important.
Please contact your State Legislators and the leadership in both houses early on Friday, especially those of you who have relationships with the conference committee members.
The Higher Education Conference Committee will meet again on Friday at 4:00pm.