Public higher education would suffer a reduction in funding under New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed fiscal year 2021-22 state budget, which is contingent on $15 billion of federal support.
New York state’s revenue has suffered an estimated $19.7 billion reduction since the coronavirus pandemic, Cuomo said in his budget address on Jan. 19. In the worst case scenario, the state would only receive $6 billion in federal relief, which would force the state to make further budget cuts. Under Cuomo’s proposal, higher education would receive around $11.1 billion, a 9.2% reduction from the previous fiscal year when adjusting for inflation.
According to the state’s budget statistics webpage, the State University of New York (SUNY) system, whose budget totaled $8.5 billion during the 2020-21 fiscal year, would receive $8.73 billion in state funding, a 2% cut when adjusting for inflation. The biggest funding cut would affect the City University of New York (CUNY) system, which would experience a 37.4% reduction in funding when adjusted for inflation.
SUNY and CUNY’s operating budgets will both suffer a 5% reduction in state support beginning in the 2021 academic year, according to the budget briefing book. Although SUNY and CUNY campuses would still receive full state support for employee benefits and debt services. The budget would also extend a funding plan that would prevent tuition spikes until the 2025 academic year.
The Higher Education Service Corporation, which distributes grants, scholarships and financial aid to eligible students and received $800 million in state funding in 2020-21, would receive $827 million under the proposal, a less than 1% reduction when adjusted for inflation.
To offset the deficit brought on by the coronavirus crisis and its reduction in revenue, Stony Brook University started their Strategic Budget Initiative to enact systemic change to the university’s budget. The initiative is currently in the process of analyzing recommendations brought by the university’s five budget task forces.
According to the university’s budget office, Stony Brook University received $4.35 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year from the state for their operating budget. It is not yet clear if, or how much funding would be cut from Stony Brook’s state support.
Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis highlighted the positive aspects of the proposed state budget, including the funding of differential tuition for SUNY’s four research universities and reduced regulation for the approval of new academic programs, in a campus wide email on Feb. 12.
“Enacting the governor’s proposals for SUNY and the university centers is our top priority for the current legislative session. We will know more about what is included in the final FY22 state budget on April 1,” McInnis wrote in the email.