July 28, 2011
Students brace for higher tuition
Cost of attending SUNY Cortland will go up by $300 next school year
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland graduate students Steve Bradley, left, and Gino Bisceglia use line trimmers on campus grounds outside Corey Union. Both are working for the college this summer.
Gino Bisceglia and Stephen Bradley have two jobs this summer: grounds crewmen at SUNY Cortland during weekdays, driving a van for a downtown tavern a couple of nights per week.
The two Lincoln Avenue housemates, who will be graduate students at SUNY Cortland this fall, are paying for much of their school expenses this coming year — which will be more difficult since the price of a State University of New York education has gone up by $300 a year.
“That’s the cost of a semester’s worth of books,” said Bradley, who just received his bachelor’s degree in adolescence social studies education and now must add a master’s degree so he can teach.
“My parents had me pay for a little more of my education each year, and I’ll be paying for grad school,” said Bisceglia, who received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the college in May and will study for a master’s degree in health. He will do his student teaching in the fall.
The state Legislature approved tuition hikes for SUNY four-year campuses in June, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to have 5 percent tuition hikes each year for the next five years. Tuition will be slightly higher at the university centers in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook.
For state residents, full-time tuition for undergraduates rose to $5,370 per year. Out-of-state residents will pay $14,320.
Graduate students will pay $8,870 per year as state residents and $15,160 as out-of-state.
The campuses will be able to keep $225 or 75 percent of the new revenue from tuition increases, allowing them to make up for state aid cuts, said college spokesman Fred Pierce. The other $25 will be used by SUNY Central for financial aid.
SUNY Cortland will gain $100,000 overall from the new revenue, as it will take in $2.1 million but lose $2 million in the 2011-12 state budget passed in June.
“We welcome (the increase) because in the state government, everybody is getting cut,” Pierce said. “I’m glad we have some ability to raise revenue.”
Student costs also include fees totaling $1,245, health insurance of $1,591, and room and board for campus residents that totals $11,060. Health insurance is not mandatory if students are covered by their parents’ insurance.
Bisceglia and Bradley are state residents. Bisceglia is from Norwood in St. Lawrence County and was a two-time All-America in track and field, but said he did not receive financial aid as an undergraduate. Bradley is from Millerton in Dutchess County.
Both served as resident advisors on campus for part of their undergraduate years, which provided a free room and a stipend of $600 per semester. Bradley held the position for one year and Bisceglia for two years.
Bradley has worked for the campus grounds crew for two years and for the Red Jug Pub, driving a van to take customers home, for one year. Bisceglia has worked on the grounds crew for two summers and for the tavern for one year, also as a van driver.
One of their housemates, senior Dan Drew, and two students he is working with this summer at a chemistry laboratory in Bowers Hall, said the tuition increase will not hurt them much.
Drew, who is from Rochester, and senior Brandon Milliken of Syracuse and sophomore Tyler Potter of Queensbury said that financial aid and their parents cover their costs well enough so that another $300 will not hurt them.
But Milliken said the increase could affect off-campus students such as himself, in how much money they have for food and rent.
“Some students will realize the money isn’t there at the end of the semester,” he said.
SUNY Cortland senior Lacey Gardner, who works at the Blue Frog Coffeehouse downtown, said the tuition hike will have an impact on her since she has always helped her parents pay for some of her college costs.
“They said they’d help us out as long as we pitched in,” said the Palmyra resident. “They did the same thing with my older brothers, who went to Nazareth College and SUNY Geneseo. We all did the best we could in school, to qualify for scholarships.”
Gardner, an outdoor recreation major, said she worked part-time at the Blue Frog last year, but with moving off-campus this year, and the tuition increase, she will work more hours now to earn more money.
“I have some learning blocks, math dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, and I’d really wanted to focus on school, but I do need a job,” she said.
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