Tuition proposal would expand on Oswego Guarantee

imageSUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley has reiterated her support for the proposed SUNY Tuition Guarantee. “This proposal responds to families’ expressed desire for a way to predict what their college costs will be over four years,” Stanley said.

“It provides flat, stable tuition for each entering freshman for four years. Each freshman class would pay more than the class before, but its own tuition would be frozen for four years. This plan is the best I’ve seen for serving the interests of families and their students. They have told us they want a high quality education at an affordable price and a dependable price. This proposal has the potential to answer their needs.”

Stanley spoke before the SUNY board of trustees finance committee Jan. 5 in Albany, explaining how the 10-year-old Oswego Guarantee has helped families of SUNY Oswego students plan to meet college costs by freezing the cost of room and board for each entering freshman for four years. Room and board are the principal college costs that are controlled at the campus level in the SUNY system. The Oswego Guarantee also pledges that students can graduate in four years, if they conduct their education according to standard expectations.

Tuition, the largest individual piece of the college cost pie, is determined by the system trustees, the governor and the state legislature. Historically, it has risen in fits and starts, being frozen for several years and then jumping steeply. One set of students ends up bearing the full brunt of a pent-up price increase instead of all students sharing reasonable increases over time, Stanley said.

The last increase occurred in 2003 after seven years without an increase. Students sometimes find themselves having to choose to enroll at a SUNY campus without knowing what the tuition will be in the fall of that year because the decision is tied to a late state budget.

“The proposed SUNY Tuition Guarantee is an attempt to inject a measure of rational planning in tuition decisions,” Stanley said. “Private colleges and universities raise their tuition every year, often by over $1,000 a year, after a rational analysis of their position and how they can best serve their students and their communities. The State University of New York will gain in stature, quality and stability as it adopts a similar and more rational price-setting method whose first principles are academic quality and student access to higher education. And SUNY will continue to be an incredible value.”

Proposed tuition increase for fall 2005

The proposed $600 increase in tuition for next fall is a separate issue that remains to be negotiated among the system trustees, the governor and the state legislature, Stanley said. It would bring full-time undergraduate in-state tuition to $4,950. Because students may receive up to $5,000 in grants under the state’s Tuition Assistance Program, all of this proposed higher SUNY tuition would be covered for low-income students.

“At Oswego we estimate that one third of our students would not pay any tuition increase because of TAP, and another third would pay only part of it because of TAP. Only one third would pay full tuition,” Stanley said.

“SUNY’s proposed tuition and average campus fees for fall 2005 would still be a small fraction of today’s private college tuition and lower than the 2004 average of public college costs in the Northeast, Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions.”

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CONTACT: President Deborah F. Stanley, 312-2211

(Posted: Jan 12, 2005)