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January 18, 2010

Colleges applaud reform plan Paterson

Paterson budget would give colleges tuition control

PLATTSBURGH — In an attempt to end what he referred to as "Albany micromanaging," Gov. David Paterson is proposing higher-education reforms that include allowing the State University of New York and City University of New York to set their own tuition rates.

Local college presidents lauded the proposals, saying they would enable their institutions to foster economic growth and workforce programs and better prepare students for jobs of the future.

"The governor's plan is the most sweeping reform of public higher education in decades," said Clinton Community College President John Jablonski. "By using high-impact, zero-cost solutions, the legislation will create jobs, build the foundation for tomorrow's economy and strengthen public higher education — while saving millions of taxpayers dollars."

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Part of Paterson's 2010 Executive Budget, which will be released today, includes the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. He accused Albany of micromanaging nearly everything at schools, hindering any chance at adapting to changing educational and fiscal climates.

"We must provide our institutions of public higher education with the freedom and flexibility they need to drive development both on campus and off, preparing our students for the new economy jobs that will propel New York forward," Paterson said.

Under his plan, tuition increases would no longer be determined by the legislature, though SUNY and the City University of New York would be restricted to incremental increases that are no more than 2.5 times the rolling five-year average of the Higher Education Price Index.

SUNY's yearly tuition for state residents is currently $5,070.

"A rational tuition policy for our students and an end to overregulation, if approved by the state legislature, would go a long way toward making a public education more affordable to students and toward creating jobs," said Plattsburgh State President Dr. John Ettling.

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