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POV: SUNY facing a critical crossroads

The promise of access to a quality, affordable higher education is being compromised. Programs at many SUNY campuses have been affected, threatening academic quality and access. Many SUNY campuses have closed programs and courses and dramatically increased class sizes. These factors combined have delayed graduations, postponed students’ employment earnings and increased their debts.

If SUNY’s state-operated campuses do not get increased state support, they may be forced to reduce programs and courses further. That would be bad, not only for students but also for local economies. Fewer programs will eventually lead to fewer students. Declines in student populations will decrease demand for housing in SUNY communities, and reduce the number of students patronizing local businesses.

SUNY needs more state support

The state must reinvest in SUNY to help it grow and continue to fulfill its mission of ensuring access to eligible students. We urge state lawmakers to amend the 2013-14 proposed budget and increase state support for SUNY’s state-operated campuses by $25 million. The state must make this investment to help SUNY keep the promise of making higher education accessible to all qualified students. It would also shift the balance of state support back to a more equitable share.

It is in all of our best interests to help the thousands of SUNY students and to protect the economic well-being of communities that house SUNY campuses.

I urge you to visit United University Professions’ website at uupuinfo.org. There, you can send letters to your state lawmakers asking them to amend the budget and add $25 million in state support for SUNY.

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