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SUNY faces privatizing budget tricks

Feb 07, 2011 6:29 am
While everyone else, including us, are talking about the proposed cuts to school aid, the Times Union's Jimmy Vielkind has a story about how the state university system is being pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to enter into public-private partnerships, with SUNY Albany's new College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering being held up as an example. Called the SUNY Empowerment Act when it failed to get legislative approval last year, Cuomo's new private-public partnerships are being now pushed as budget matters... and drawing new discussion as lawmakers either line up behind the privatizing actions as necessary steps to allow campus growth, while others worry that raising tuition -- or taking control over rates and campus development from the Legislature -- will reduce students' ability to get a quality education for cheap. The story quotes Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat who chairs the chamber's Higher Education Committee, stating, "I didn't think the administration had a strong commitment to public higher education, and this is very much the neo-con view of the world." In addition, Cuomo's view on tuition has surprised many officials, Vielkind writes, including Jason Lane, an assistant professor of education administration at UAlbany and a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute. The institute will be the site of a panel Monday looking at the role of colleges in economic development as part of UAlbany Day at the Capitol. Lane said there are basically three ways for public colleges and universities to get money: tuition, state budget appropriations and public-private partnerships. "In some ways, this is privatizing," he said of Cuomo's plan. "But what New York has really done is, by decreasing the funding without allowing SUNY to do some of these things, it's actually decreasing the quality of the education because it hasn't allowed any way to make up the money."