Students Support State Maintenance of Effort Bill, Urge Governor Cuomo to Approve

Albany – Members of the Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) affirm their support for New York State Senate and Assembly bills S281A-2015/A5370A-2015 (the State Maintenance of Effort bill) by issuing a Memorandum of Support and urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to approve the bill. This legislation would amend current education law and “make available,” in the words of the proposed bill, “general fund operating support to cover all mandatory costs of the state university and the state university health science centers.” By approving this bill, recently passed by both the New York State Assembly and Senate, Governor Cuomo would be committing to taking the incremental SUNY tuition raises created by rational tuition policy and funneling them back into the universities in order to support the students that pay them.

Since rational tuition policy was passed in 2011, the state has not covered mandatory cost increases, which are defined in part, in the bill’s own language, as “collective bargaining costs including salary increments, fringe benefits, and other non-personal service costs such as utility costs, building rentals and other inflationary expenses.” This legislation would provide a commitment by the state to cover these inflating costs in the future.

As Nicholas Simons, Director of Legislative Affairs for SUNY SA, explains, “This bill that lies in the hands of the governor ensures that the students, faculty, and staff of our universities are able to benefit from the funds generated by these tuition raises. This progress would allow for increased opportunities for students in the SUNY system and continue a trend New York State has set regarding proactive higher education policy.”

“The students of SUNY regard this legislation as one of utmost importance,” Daniel Franasiak, Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, states. He continues, “As the costs associated with higher education continue to increase, the approval of this legislation is critical if we are to remain at the forefront of state college systems nationwide.”

SUNY SA President Thomas Mastro on the critical nature of the bill: “SUNY prides itself on being at the forefront of progress and economic success. For decades, SUNY has proven to play a significant and positive role in the economy of the Empire State, and continuously provides New York with a large, skilled, and innovative work force. In order for us to continue to build upon our success, it is imperative that our funding needs are met. When we agreed to the provisions of SUNY 2020, we did so under the assumption that we would receive full and honest state maintenance of effort to help us cover our most basic costs. In the more than four years since the implementation of SUNY 2020, we have yet to see that promise executed. We ask Governor Cuomo to act swiftly on this matter and to approve the State Maintenance of Effort bill, securing the future of SUNY, of hundreds of thousands of students, and guaranteeing the continued success of a key shareholder in the future of New York State’s economy.”

About the Student Assembly of the State University of New York

The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is an organization comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses. Empowering students throughout the state, the SUNY SA is committed to student life and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level as well as throughout the SUNY system.