SUNY students who don't qualify for Excelsior Scholarship will see $200 tuition increase

SUNY students not qualified for the Excelsior Scholarship can expect a tuition increase of $200.

ALBANY -- Free tuition is coming for some SUNY students thanks to the Excelsior Scholarship. But for those who don't qualify -- their bill is going up.

"Tuition for undergraduate students who do not have Excelsior Scholarships would increase by $200 per year for the 2017-2018 academic year,” SUNY board member Cary Staller said.

A decision voted upon by the SUNY board of trustees - to raise tuition as much as is allowable for in-state undergraduate students.

Some say $200 on top of everything else isn't much.

"I'm not as concerned about the fee increase, $200 is pretty small comparatively to what you would pay for, books," one student said.

But others -- say that adds up.

"That's $200 that could go towards rent, that's $200 that can go toward room or board or childcare or groceries -- you have to understand that this money means something to our students."

Marc Cohen is a SUNY Board trustee and the president of the SUNY student assembly. He says the Excelsior Scholarship isn't the only reason SUNY schools need to compensate revenue -- but it's a big one.

“With the Excelsior Scholarship, there is that need even more so for increased revenue,” Cohen said.

Cohen says tuition will remain flat for students receiving the scholarship.

"Their tuition is not going to go up, and so you have to compensate for that somehow, and the way the board has decided to do that is tuition increases."

Cohen says he thinks the state should provide additional support, not the students.

"Most of our campuses did ask for $200 increase, and the reasons why they asked for that increase was to invest,” SUNY board member Eileen McLoughlin said. “Direct cash support has been flat -- tuition is what they use to invest in."

But even though SUNY needs that additional revenue, Cohen pushes that the board shouldn't see students as a solution.

"We are not bottomless ATMs, with endless amounts of cash," Cohen said.

That $200 could be even more depending on the college -- which can increase fees as it chooses. We reached out to the governor's office for comment but did not hear back.

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