WXXI AM News

Local SUNY officials and student leaders react to Cuomo's tuition proposal

Jan 3, 2017

Among the officials reacting positively to Governor Cuomo’s proposal for making college tuition-free for middle class families is the president at the College at Brockport. Heidi Macpherson realizes that even state tuition rates are too high for some students.

“I think we’re already a very affordable education here in the “SUNYs”  but I know that some people feel, that they’re concerned about the cost of education so if even one family is helped by this proposal, that’s a good thing,” she told WXXI News.

Macpherson says the governor’s plan could also help some students get their degree on a full-time basis, rather than having to stretch out their education because they are attending college part-time.

Macpherson does note that the proposal revolves around tuition, and there are still other costs students are dealing with.

“It doesn’t cover room and board so there are still costs attached to going to education; there are opportunities to work on campuses and off campuses and there are ways students can afford that; there are also scholarships as well as grants and loans that will help students with their education costs.”

MCC President Anne Kress calls the proposal 'groundbreaking'  and says it could ensure that New Yorkers will no longer see affordability as a barrier to accessing high quality higher education.

As you might expect, some local student leaders also favor the plan.

Blake Moore heads up the student association at MCC. He says even with the lower tuition at community colleges, this proposal would still be a big help.

"Especially at community colleges where you have a large number of non-traditional students, these are folks who have families, who also often have full time jobs and bills to pay, so even a minimal community college tuition is still hard to achieve and attain.”

At the College at Brockport, the president of the student government there, Devin Bonner told WXXI News that she generally likes the governor’s proposal, but says there still needs to be a closer look at the details.

“We are, as taxpayers, going to pay it eventually in some capacity, like where is this money coming from?  So I definitely think it’s a very complex situation to go about, but overall a very positive outcome from students that I’ve heard.”

It is expected that the statewide SUNY association will push for the state legislature to approve the plan.